Bible Treasury: Volume 1

Table of Contents

1. Answers to Queries on Psalm 24
2. On Mr. Elliott's Apocalyptic Interpretation
3. Are There Two Half Weeks in the Apocalypse? Correction
4. The Bible and the Conscience
5. The Calling of the Disciples
6. The Canon of Scripture and the Various Divisions of the Books
7. Change No Cure
8. Christ Dwelling in Our Hearts by Faith
9. Christian Love and Union
10. What Is the Church? Do the Old Testament Saints Form Part of It? Part 1
11. What Is the Church? Do the Old Testament Saints Form Part of It? Part 2
12. What Is the Church? Do the Old Testament Saints Form Part of It? Part 3
13. The Coming of the Lord and the Translation of the Church
14. Criticism on the Text of the New Testament: No. 1
15. Criticism on the Text of the New Testament: No. 2
16. Notes of a Lecture on Daniel 2:19-49 and Daniel 7: Part 1
17. Notes of a Lecture on Daniel 2:19-49 and Daniel 7: Part 2
18. David and Solomon
19. The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved
20. A Few Words on Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon
21. The Effect
22. Notes of a Lecture on Ephesians 1
23. Even So, Come, Lord Jesus.
24. Extracts From Correspondence: Differences Between the Moral Activities of Society and the Church
25. Extracts From Correspondence: Keeping Pure in the Midst of Evil
26. Ezekiel
27. A Fair Show in the Flesh
28. Faith and Its Fruits: Poetry
29. Faith's Resting Place
30. Faith's Resting Place
31. The Basket of First-Fruits
32. Notes of a Lecture on First Thessalonians 1
33. Fragment
34. Fragment
35. Fragments Christ's Lordship
36. German Rationalists and the Bible: Fragment
37. God's Word, Not the Opinion of the Day
38. On the Epistle to the Hebrews
39. Hope
40. How Far Did Christ's Advent Fulfil Prophecy?
41. Introductory Address
42. Is Not Obedience Too Much Forgotten When You Insist on Justification by Faith?
43. Is the Manifestation to Be Before Brethren of the Lord Simply?
44. People and Land of Israel: 1. Jews After the Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus
45. People and Land of Israel: 2. Jerusalem
46. People and Land of Israel: 3. Recent Travels in the Holy Land and Neighboring Countries, Part 1
47. People and Land of Israel: 3. Recent Travels in the Holy Land and Neighboring Countries, Part 2
48. People and Land of Israel: 4. Travels in Sinai and Palestine
49. People and Land of Israel: 5. Morality of the Jews
50. People and Land of Israel: 6. Place of Wailing Jerusalem
51. Job 33
52. On the Book of Job
53. Joy
54. The Kingdom of Heaven
55. The Languages of the Bible
56. Latter-Day Saints
57. Life and Righteousness
58. The Lord Jesus in John 11-12
59. The Lord Returning From the Wedding
60. Luke 19-21
61. Some Account of Manuscripts
62. Notes of a Lecture on Matthew 13
63. Melchizedek
64. The Millenarian Question: Part 1
65. The Millenarian Question: Part 2
66. The Millenarian Question: Part 3
67. The Mind of Christ: 1 Cor. 2
68. A Few Words on Modern Criticism
69. Modern Hegelianism Compared With Brahminism
70. Not to Company
71. Notes Du Nouveau Testament: Review
72. Notes of the Month: Charges Against Mr. Davidson
73. Notes on Scripture: 1. Communion of Abraham With God
74. Notes on Scripture: 10. John 17:14
75. Notes on Scripture: 11. Psalm 16
76. Notes on Scripture: 12. John 10
77. Notes on Scripture: 2. Abraham and Lot
78. Notes on Scripture: 3. Jesus the Author and Finisher of Faith
79. Notes on Scripture: 4. the Call of the Bride
80. Notes on Scripture: 5. Our Joy in Heaven
81. Notes on Scripture: 6. Grace Rejected and Heavenly Glory Opened
82. Notes on Scripture: 7. Galatians 6
83. Notes on Scripture: 8. 1 John 4
84. Notes on Scripture: 9. Philippians 4
85. Obedience and Sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus Christ
86. The One Predicted Re-Awakening
87. Our Portion and Occupation
88. Our Study
89. Our Study: Notes on the Book of Genesis.
90. Overflow of the Banks of the Jordan
91. Thoughts on the Parables in Matthew 13: 1.
92. Thoughts on the Parables in Matthew 13: 2. Seed
93. Thoughts on the Parables in Matthew 13: 3. The Tree
94. Thoughts on the Parables in Matthew 13: 4. Leaven
95. Thoughts on the Parables in Matthew 13: 5. The House
96. Thoughts on the Parables in Matthew 13: 6. The Hid Treasure
97. Thoughts on the Parables in Matthew 13: 7. The Net
98. Perfection: Fragment
99. Philippians 3:11: Answer
100. A Few Remarks on Prayer and Praise: Part 1
101. A Few Remarks on Prayer and Praise: Part 2
102. The Premillennial Advent: 1. The Hope of Christ's Coming Again and Its Relation to the Question of Time
103. The Premillennial Advent: 2. The Hope of Christ's Coming Again and Its Relation to the Question of Time
104. The Premillennial Advent: 3. Millennialism Consistent With the Completeness of the Church at Christ's Coming Again
105. The Premillennial Advent: 4. In Relation to the Agencies of Salvation
106. The Premillennial Advent: 5. The Kingdom
107. The Premillennial Advent: 6. The First Resurrection and the Second Death
108. The Premillennial Advent: 7. The Judgment and the Eternal State
109. The Premillennial Controversy
110. Present State of Controversies on Apocalyptic Interpretation
111. Priesthood: Fragment
112. Dawning Light of Prophecy: No. 1
113. Dawning Light of Prophecy: No. 2
114. Dawning Light of Prophecy: No. 3
115. Dawning Light of Prophecy: No. 4
116. Psalm 42: Fragment
117. Rabbinical Criticism on the History of John the Baptist
118. The Re-Translation or Revision of the Bible: No. 1
119. The Re-Translation or Revision of the Bible: No. 2
120. The Re-Translation or Revision of the Bible: No. 3
121. The Red Sea and the Jordan
122. Repentance Unto Life, What Is It? Review
123. On the Return of the Lord Jesus Christ From Heaven to Meet His Saints in the Air: No. 1
124. On the Return of the Lord Jesus Christ From Heaven to Meet His Saints in the Air: No. 3
125. On the Return of the Lord Jesus Christ From Heaven to Meet His Saints in the Air: No. 4
126. On the Return of the Lord Jesus Christ From Heaven to Meet His Saints in the Air: No. 4
127. On the Return of the Lord to Meet His Saints in the Air: No. 2
128. Notes of a Lecture on Revelation 12
129. Review of Dr. Brown: 1. How the Millennium Is Brought About
130. Review of Dr. Brown: 2. Nature of the Millennium.
131. Review of Dr. Brown: 3. The Millennium — Display of the Kingdom in Judgment.
132. Review of Dr. Brown: 4. Millennial Revival of Jewish Peculiarities
133. Review of Dr. Brown: 5 & 6. Millennial Coexistence of Earthly and Heavenly Things
134. Review of Dr. Brown: 7. Millennial Binding of Satan
135. Review of Dr. Brown: 8. Millennial Features and the Little Season That Follows
136. Review of Dr. Brown: 9. Objections
137. The Righteous Dead Raised
138. The Righteousness of God
139. The Righteousness of God: Answer
140. Address to His Roman Catholic Brethren by a Minister of the Gospel
141. Second Address to His Roman Catholic Brethren by a Minister of the Gospel: Part 1
142. Second Address to His Roman Catholic Brethren by a Minister of the Gospel: Part 2
143. Substance of a Lecture on Romans 11
144. Thoughts on Romans: Chapter 1-8
145. Thoughts on Romans: Chapter 5-8
146. Sanctification
147. The Scriptural Museum — Inaugural Lecture by Sir H. Rawlinson
148. The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament
149. The Silent Building of Solomon's Temple
150. Suffering in the Flesh
151. Teetotalism
152. The Ten Virgins
153. What Saints Will Be in the Tribulation?
154. Types of Scripture: 1. Historical Glance and General Principles
155. Types of Scripture: 2. Primeval Times
156. Types of Scripture: 3. Typical Persons and Things in the Book of Genesis
157. Types of Scripture: 4. The Histories of Exodus
158. Types of Scripture: 5. The Tabernacle and Its Vessels
159. Types of Scripture: 6. the Priesthood
160. Types of Scripture: 7. The Offerings of Leviticus
161. Visible and Invisible Church
162. Israel's Vocation
163. The Vulgate
164. Review of Waldegrave: 1. On Principles of Biblical Interpretation
165. Review of Waldegrave: 2. Distinctions Between the Old and New Testaments
166. Review of Waldegrave: 3. Connections Between the Old and New Testaments
167. Review of Waldegrave: 4. Three-Fold Cord or Christ's Three Offices of Prophet, Priest and King
168. Review of Waldegrave: 5. New Testament Millenarianism, Part 1
169. Review of Waldegrave: 6. New Testament Millenarianism: Part 2
170. On the Work of Christ

Answers to Queries on Psalm 24

This is truly a millennial psalm, in the form of a dialog of which there are many instances in the Hebrew writings (Psa. 91; 53:4). It contains just an acknowledgment of Jehovah's title to the earth—He founded it and established it; it is His and all that it contains. Then follows the question “Who shall ascend into the hill of Jehovah?” &c. The answer is, he of clean hands and a pure heart, free from idolatry and profaneness. Such shall be blessed; and such is the generation to come. But when the godly remnant shall thus appear, another appears at their head, the suffering Messiah, the Shepherd of Israel, the King of glory entering by the everlasting doors. Who is he, this King of glory? Jehovah strong and mighty, Jehovah mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates. Jehovah of hosts, He is the King of glory, erst a reproach of men and despised of the people, yea forsaken of His God on the cross. What a discovery for Israel!

On Mr. Elliott's Apocalyptic Interpretation

My Dear Brother In Christ, I have read enough of the “Horæ Apocalyptiæ,” to convince myself of its unsoundness in general, The foundation principles of interpretation are found succinctly laid down in chap. 5 (vol. 1); the remainder being simply an examination into the events of history, with a view to apply and illustrate them. It is not therefore necessary to follow him through all these statements, the leading theory being the most material point to be attended to. For even admitting that the historical facts accord with the principles advocated, this would not be sufficient. Such tallying may be allowed as secondary evidence of that which has been previously demonstrated upon independent grounds. But Mr. E. does not thus advance them, (i.e., not upon proofs derived from scripture only, irrespectively of uninspired records). His mode of procedure is a “petitio principii.” He assumes his principles, and then proceeds to try and show the extreme probability by an appeal to history. This method should be carefully used at all times, when the meaning of the Holy Ghost is the inquiry; and perhaps not at all, except in some point of detail, and where no fundamental question is involved. To apply it to the subject-matter of the Holy Ghost in the very basis and frame-work of prophetic truth, is in my judgment an act of self-sufficiency incompatible with a due subjection to the Holy Ghost, and tends to produce and encourage a similar spirit in the reader. The prophetic, like the doctrinal, and other parts of the word of God, are not to be mastered as books of science and general knowledge. The latter require intellectual ability only, and make no demand upon the moral aptitudes of the student. Not so the former. They were given by the Holy Ghost, and for reasons far other than even a carnally minded Christian would think of. They appeal to the renewed mind, and imperatively call for a true soul in fellowship with the purposes of God. For lack of this we find that the very saints of God do not seem able to judge between things that differ widely. Take for example the views of many Christians as to the walk of the Church. Having little fellowship with the thoughts of God respecting the body He is now fowling by the Spirit for the Lord Jesus Christ, they do not see the inconsistency of believers standing in what contravenes some, at least, of the primary principles of the Church. So with their views of what is delivered by the Spirit concerning things to come. The author says he assumes the subject-matter of the Apocalypse to be the continuous fortunes of the Church, and the world (i.e., of the Christian Church and the Roman world). What right has the author so to assume? Is not the legitimate sphere of hypothesis that in which no primary evidence is found? Further assumptions should always be closely tested by the subject-matter to which they belong. Even when this has been done with a certain measure of satisfactory result, they may often all be wrong. So that a scheme which rests only on assumptions, however probable, is but a probability after all. Now to rest the interpretation of the Apocalypse—a portion vitally connected with the preceding prophetic utterances of the Holy Ghost, not only in details but essentially; belonging to the same great structure of prophetic truth which the Spirit began to rear by the Old Testament prophets—to rest this, I say, upon mere assumptions is not less unwise than unwarrantable. If it is not necessary for Old Testament prophecy, why for the Apocalypse? Are we prepared to say that the older prophecies present no evidence of their meaning sufficient to give an insight through the Spirit, as definite as is needful? And if this is so with the Old Testament, is it otherwise with the Apocalypse, organically connected as it is with what went before? Is there not adequate instructions in the scriptures of truth to teach the humble and dependent soul, and thus to render needless, if not dangerous, all assumptions as to the scope and subject-matter of prophecy? That Mr. E. resorts to such an expedient is a plain proof that he feels that he has no other ground to stand upon. The sphere, subject-matter, and the essential character of the Spirit's testimonies in the Apocalypse, are taken for granted. Is this necessary? Suffer me to bring one of his assumptions to the test. First, he says, “the subject- matter of the Apocalyptic seals is the temporary glory of Pagan Rome, and its ravages and destruction by the Goths, Saracens, and Turks, after it had become Christianized, and that the decline and fall of Pagan Rome was owing to the advancing power of Christianity.” If this were so, what are we called upon to believe? That all the seals are past! and that the first six trumpets have received their accomplishment already! Accordingly the events under the seals have relation to the transient splendor, the wane and the extinction of the Pagan Roman world before the power of Christianity. Mark the words, before the power of Christianity. I am told that the day of the Lamb's wrath had arrived, when the forces under Licinius were defeated by Constantine—that then and before some noted personages who had persecuted the Christians, and Licinius who had opposed Constantine—whom the author seems to think divinely commissioned by the Lord to assume the emblem of His passion as the badge of his commission, to go forth, in the name of the Prince of Peace, and scatter war and destruction among men—had remorse on their death-bed because of their conduct, and that the object that inspired their dread was the wrath of the Lamb! Supposing that individuals may have died in remorse of conscience, and under a vague apprehension of judgment after death, what was there in such things at all on a moral level with the language of the sixth vial? A few great men are made to mean the kings of the earth, the great men and the chief captains, and the mighty men Licinius and his defeated soldiers represent all these, and every bondman and every freeman besides! What parallel between the death-bed [Rev. 6; 16:17, does not disclose the actual presence of that day, but a fearful convulsion which produced this apprehension in men's minds. They said “the great day of His wrath is come.” The Spirit did not say this. Mr. E. is right thus far in my opinion. It is the expression of human terror, not God's utterance, save as predicting, men's hearts failing them for fear.—ED.] terrors of a few Roman Emperors or the consternation of the forces under Licinius at their defeat by Constantine, and the great day of the Lamb's wrath, which is to be visible to all and to inspire universal terror through all the earth, for who shall be able to stand? Again, the fifth seal reveals martyr's blood shed like water upon the earth; and yet, according to the “Horaz,” this was included among the events which marked the progress of triumphing Christianity, before which the Paganism of the “world's mistress” became changed into the Christianity of the Church of God.
Now I ask myself what is there in any of the Apocalyptic seals that has the characteristics of truth's progress on the earth? Is the mighty conqueror under the first seal; is universal murder under the second seal? is black famine under the third; is the march of death over the fourth part of the earth, with hell his follower slaying with the sword, with hunger, with pestilence, and with wild beasts (θηρίων), under the fourth; is the cry of the martyrs' souls beneath the altar for vengeance under the fifth, and the persecution and slaughter of many more upon the earth after a little season; or the great earthquake leading men to anticipate the wrath of the Lamb under the sixth seal: are these things marked by any real resemblance to the progress of God's truth, or the victories of the gospel? The heart that can say “yes” can have little spiritual power to hold the balances of the sanctuary. A greater perversion of this part of the Spirit's revelations is scarcely possible. It indicates, to my mind at least, how little there is of that priestly discrimination to put a difference between holy and unholy things, which the functions of the sanctuary of God imperatively demand.
The Lord Jesus said, “he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” That a Christian can take the words of the Holy Ghost, “the temple and holy city” to be expressive of Pagan or even of Christianized Rome, marks an obliquity of judgment that renders him, in my opinion, an unsafe expounder of the lively oracles of God. The character of his interpretation bears no affinity to the grandeur of the Spirit's utterances; while the subject-matter of the two is marked by just the difference between the holy and profane. Could Christianized Rome be other than an unclean thing before God? Is not Constantine's assumption of the labarum a libel upon the heavenly source and character of Christianity You will thus perceive that my doubts whether the Protestant praeterist principle of Apocalyptic interpretation were sound have been converted into convictions of its unsoundness by the perusal of the “Hore.”
I have said so much, feeling that I ought not to commend but rather to contend against a work which, I am satisfied, is really hostile to the interests of God's truth, and to Christ's glory in the earth.
Yours in the truth, R. S.

Are There Two Half Weeks in the Apocalypse? Correction

Dear Mr. Editor
It has been long assumed that two half-weeks are spoken of in the Apocalypse. In this I have for years myself acquiesced, and I think rested on the contrast of the beast's overcoming the saints, and the witnesses destroying their enemies, as confirming this assumption. I hardly know how I was led some time back to call it in question; but I have been: and I should be glad to present the point as a question, in case you or your readers were given of God to throw any light upon it Though strongly calling in question that two halt weeks are spoken of, my mind is still quite open to conviction; and I have nothing whatever to sustain in it; and desire only to know what the Spirit of God has really meant to teach us in the word, as to it. I hardly know whether such a question enters into the object of the “Bible Treasury;” but it may elicit some light from others, as to the matter. I shall give a kind of expose of the subject from Scripture, considered from the point of view I have spoken of.
Seventy weeks are determined on Daniel's people and his holy city, to complete the blessing and close their eventful history, the display of divine government in the earth. After seven and sixty-two weeks, Messiah is cut off, and has nothing. There are seven and sixty-two till Messiah the Prince. His cutting off is indefinite; only it is after the sixty-two weeks. Then the prince that comes establishes a covenant with the many—that is, the mass of the people. Messiah's relationship, on the contrary, had been with the residue though defended to all the people. Then, in the dividing of the week, he causes the sacrifice and oblation to cease; and then, because of the protection of abominations (idols), there is a desolator. I give you Daniel as I understand it. No persecutions are here spoken of in the first half-week, nor indeed is any first half week spoken of. The prince confirms the covenant one week, and the half-weeks are marked by his change of conduct, in the middle of the week. In Dan. 7 we have, without any note of period, the general characteristics of the beast—that he wears out the heavenly saints, and, in general, makes war with the saints, till the Ancient of days comes. But the times and laws (not the saints) are delivered into his hand for half a week, (i.e., for a time, times, and half a time). In Matt. 24 there is a general testimony, such as there was in Christ's time—only it reaches the Gentiles—till the last half-week, which begins with the abomination of desolation. This exclusive allusion to the last half week in Matt. 24 had often struck me. In Rev. 13, the beast is given power to act (ποιῆσαι) forty and two months. He blasphemes God and them that dwell in heaven; and he makes war with the saints (not “those that dwell in heaven,” compare 12:12), and overcomes them. One would surely, at first sight, suppose that power to act forty-two months hardly meant that he does so eighty-four. Thus far, certainly, the last half-week seems to be noted. The second beast acts in presence of the first, who is the beast with the deadly wound healed. (Compare 17:8.) In this last chapter, no date or period is given; it is the description of the beast; but his existence is stated, and it is as descending out of the bottomless pit (he who kills the witnesses, in chap. 11) when all worship him save the elect. The Gentiles (11:2) tread the city under foot forty and two months—one would suppose therefore no longer. It is true the temple and the altar are spared; but I surely think that this applies to the destruction of true condition of worship and true worshippers, not locality, though in Jewish connection. But if this be true of verse 2, verse 3 applies to the period spoken of in verse 2. This would put the third woe ὄρανμέλλει (when he sounds as he is just about to do, I apprehend, is the sense) at the close. The casting down of Satan, the flight of the woman, and the changing of times and laws, would coincide as to epoch with the ascent of the beast out of the bottomless pit. I have thus given a kind of expose of the whole matter, sufficient to present the question, “Are there two half-weeks spoken of in the Apocalypse?” I do not reason on it, nor reply to objections which might suggest themselves. If my question draws out any remarks, that will be the time to inquire into their justice.
A collateral subject suggests itself, on which I would say a few words. There are heavenly saints spoken of in Dan. 7. Does this bring the church into the scene? It implies, I think, nothing as to the Church; rather, I think, the contrary—makes its distinctive place more clear, though the church be heavenly. We have in Daniel the saints of heavenlies, as belonging to, and connected with, these earthly questions, where there is not the smallest allusion to the Church, where all is connected with the beasts and the true kingdom over the earth. Abraham was a heavenly saint, though he saw Christ's day and was glad. He looked forward with joy to this, but was himself obliged to take it in another way. Such is the case supposed in the sermon on the mount. “The meek shall inherit the earth:” but the reward of the persecuted will be great in heaven. So in the Psalms, especially the first book, 1- 41 where even Christ is shown the path of life, (Psa. 16) so as to be in God's presence, and the saint (as Christ Himself) is satisfied, (Psa. 17) waking up after Jehovah's likeness. Yet the remnant are promised earthly blessings very plainly and clearly. See Psa. 1, 37 whence the expression in Matt. 5 is drawn; so Psa. 34 and others, as Psa. 9, 10 and indeed also Psa. 8 show.
The passages, then, in Daniel, as others, point out clearly a residue, who, connected with earthly things, and passing through them, but purified by trials out of them, and led to look upon high, have finally their portion there, where they have been taught to look. But, in general, I apprehend, their desire after heavenly things is more connected with weariness of heart in conflict, while under the law—for they are under the law—though no doubt they do in spirit thereby dwell in heaven, for the enjoyment of which the new nature renders them capable. As to the Church, remark, that in Eph. 1 it is brought out quite apart from the full blessing of individuals, developed with such inexpressible beauty, first in their calling, then in the knowledge given them of the purpose of God to gather together all in one, in Christ, and in the inheritance obtained in Him. After that the apostle prays that they may understand these two points of God's calling, and inheritance in the saints. But then he adds another demand, brought in addition, that they might know the exceeding greatness of His power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead; and then first brings in the Church as His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all; thus giving the Church, which He had not before spoken of, a peculiar place in union with Christ, as raised from the dead, (compare Col. 1:18,) and sitting at the right hand of God. God gave Him, the raised Jesus, to be head—over all things—to the Church, which is His-body, the fullness of Him who filleth all in all. It has no existence but united to Him, and has its existence consequent on His exaltation. Hence it is said we are “one body in Christ” (Rom. 12:5), and still stronger, “so also is Christ” (1 Cor. 12:12). And here note that in Eph. 1, Christ is considered as the exalted man. The chapter speaks of His (God's) mighty power which He wrought in Christ. Christ is looked at as man, and subjected to death, and raised again by another, even God; that is, it is a Christ really living in time. When the forming of the body on earth, by the Holy Ghost, is spoken of, the word leads us to the same truth: “By one Spirit we have been all baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13). There is (Eph. 4) “one body and one Spirit,.... one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” I go on to “one baptism,” because it shows that the apostle is speaking of those who are brought in by the known death and resurrection of Christ. The testimony of 1 Corinthians is beyond controversy; and while the Ephesians shows individual privilege in the highest way, as relationship, position, and character, making the individual the proper object of every ministration of the Church, the more the scriptures are searched into, the more the Church—the assembly—will be seen to have a distinct and peculiar position, and to be a special and distinctive body. Heb. 12 shows it very clearly. Thus in the midst of the general assembly of heaven, “to an innumerable company of angels, the general assembly, and to the church of the firstborn whose names are written in heaven.” It is really forgotten that, unless the question of authorship be raised on the last mentioned passage, in the apostolic writings none ever speaks of “the Church” but Paul.
I resume the points as to the half-weeks. Christ's connection with the first half-week is left entirely vague. Seventy weeks are determined on the city and the sanctuary to bring in blessing. Then there are seven and sixty-two weeks till Messiah the Prince. A week thus remains. But after the sixty-two weeks, Messiah is cut off, and has nothing—after their fulfillment, but His time passes for nothing; it drops through, as He is rejected. We can say that in His death He laid the foundation of the new covenant, and that, in some sort during His life, He may be said to have been dealing with the remnant in establishing a covenant, associating them on certain principles with Himself. I apprehend what is called “confirming a [not the] covenant” means forming it as on established principles of association. This the prince does with the mass or the many. This prince (not the Messiah) is alone said to do it, and in the dividing of the week, which is referred to in connection with him only, he subverts the whole order of Jewish worship, breaks their apparent link with God, making sacrifice and offering cease. In Dan. 9 we have only the earthly historical view of the matter. But, at this epoch, Satan is cast down from heaven, the blasphemous beast comes up out of the bottomless pit—he whose deadly wound was healed. Thus, incontrovertibly, the last half-week is the great subject of testimony; it alone is referred to by the Lord; nor indeed is the first referred to as a half-week when its existence is proved (Dan. 9:27). Of course, as the prince changes his conduct in the dividing of the week, there must have been a half-week before; but the “confirming” is referred to the week in general. Satan's (to him, probably, unlooked-for) rejection from heaven changes the whole scene. He, as to the mass, sets aside the public outward testimony to God. This would account for the witnesses being raised up, as witnesses before the God of the earth; because, Satan being become the Satan of the earth then, God's witness must be there where Satan's power is and refer to it, just as the church's ought to the heavenly now. The particular protection of the witnesses accounts for their subsisting in spite of it. They were as Moses and Elias in reference to the power of evil.

The Bible and the Conscience

That every man has a conscience is a truth of the last importance. God has taken care that man, falling into sin, should, in and with the sin, acquire the knowledge of good and evil—a profound and admirable ordering of divine wisdom, as it was impossible he could have that knowledge before. The knowledge of good and evil, in One necessarily above all evil in nature, is the sphere of, and inseparable from, holiness. In man this is impossible. He is in innocence, or with a conscience in sin. But then, if conscience come with sin, while in itself it is the knowledge of good and evil, (i.e. of the difference of right and wrong), it may be deadened, perverted; it gives no motives more than approval and disapproval, no power, no living object, save as fear of judgment may come in.
To man in this state, a revelation of God is made from the beginning, a promise of deliverance in another than himself; the all-important principle we have seen of the mind being taken out of self—affection, thankfulness, adoration of heart introduced in contrast with judgment, while the truth of judgment is owned, law confirmed, but deliverance given from it. But God gives a full revelation as to the whole of His relationships with man, in responsibility, and in grace. That is, He either puts Himself in relationship, or shows a relationship which exists, with the being who has the conscience. We must consider it in both these lights. The latter is law, the former grace. Both were already seen in Paradise. In and out of Christianity, men have sought to reconcile them: out of Christ they never can. But there they were, responsibility and life—a command (not knowledge of right and wrong), but a command, and free communication of life; responsibility, and giving of life. Man took of the first tree, and never ate of the second. He goes out a sinner, with death on him, and judgment before him—the promise of a Deliverer, but in another; no promise to him, (for he was in sin) but for him; the seed of the woman—which Adam specifically was not. The first creature, man, flesh was no longer in communion, or heir—he was lost. Then came God's witness to men, and temporal judgment of the world on that footing, i.e. the flood; then promise unconditional, again confirmed to the seed, to that one only, as Paul says, and as is strictly and profoundly true. (Gen. 22) No question of responsibility is raised; God would bless all nations in the promised Seed. But could the question of righteousness be left as indifferent? Impossible. It is raised by law—obedience and blessing, disobedience and the curse. This is broken, before it is formally given, in its first and chiefest link—that which bound man immediately to God. They made other gods—turned their glory into the similitude of a calf eating hay. Then, after various dealings in mercy, the work of God comes, not dealings with the responsibility of men, but recognizing it, (grace, which brings salvation, sealing the truth of all the previous responsibility, for otherwise salvation were not needed, but going on another ground and meeting the case). Christ takes the effect of the broken responsibility on Himself, dies for sin, and is the source of life, and that according to righteousness. The whole question of the two trees of Paradise, life-giving and good and evil, and man's ruin in this, is settled for those who receive Christ forever, with the largest, yea, a perfect revelation of God as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in all His riches and ways. Two points come before us here: how are we to view the Bible, even the doctrinal parts of it? and is conscience to be between us and the Bible as supreme interpreter?
The whole question is, Is there a revelation? Is anything heavenly to come within the scope of man's thoughts? Has God to be known; or merely right and wrong discerned! And if He has to be known, must He not reveal Himself? Now I say, if we are to be blessed, God must be known. If I am away from God in sin, and so the Scripture treats man, and conscience cannot deny it, doing right and wrong cannot be settled but by returning to God. If a child has wickedly abandoned his father's house, he may leave off particular faults, but he can never be right till he returns and submits to his father. But the true knowledge of God is lost, and the more man reasons in sin, the more it is lost. God must be good: I can say that when once He has been revealed, for heathens did not know this as truth, though instinct looked for it—wants looked for it. They did not in their notion of God rise above the passions of men. When they did rise above them, they held that God could not have anything to say to men. But now God has been revealed; and even the poorest man knows God must be good. But if I begin to reason, what do I see? An innocent child perishing in agony, the mass of the world degraded to the lowest degree by heathenism—how is He then good? An infinitesimal part of the race, for centuries, alone knowing the unity of the Godhead, and they almost worse than their neighbors; sin having power over myself, brutality in families, wars, tumults, and miseries—how is He good? If I say, Ah! but that is fallen man, departed from God. Then I ask, how then can he be received back again? I cannot with any sense deny that he is a sinner, and if God did not make him bad, he is fallen. The cravings of nature prove he is. How can he be back with God, whom I must then think to be holy and pure A revelation from God, and of God, is the first necessity of my nature as a moral being. I get both in Christ. “He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God.” I set to my seal, on believing Him, that God is true; but then it is not only the word received from above (that a prophet—that John had, and spoke of earthly things, moved in the sphere in which God dealt with man as a creature on earth responsible to God); but He came Himself from above. God spoke in the Son; His words were in a personal and complete way, though a man, the words of God. They were spoken by the Lord. Now, he that receives his testimony sets to his seal that God is true. And note how this is stated. No one is ascended into heaven, but He who is come down from heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven, and what He hath seen and heard, that He testifieth. Oh what a blessing is here, which none else can give, for none else has gone up to heaven to tell us what is there! In this poor distracted sin-beset world, I have the sweet and holy ways and divine objects of heaven brought down to my heart, by One who is the center of its glory and delights, and come to bring them to me in love, yet without leaving it.
If it be said that there is a conscience which must and does judge what is before it (e. g. a God not good and not holy), I answer how long has this been the case with man? Did ever conscience make a difficulty, when a revelation had not been given? Was there ever such a thing as a holy God thought of, or the need of holiness in God dreamed of, in any religion but a revealed one? We may find partial traces of goodness as to human need and deliverance from tyranny in India, in the avatars of Vishnoo, in that otherwise monstrous idolatry. But all idolatry everywhere proves that the notion that goodness and holiness were required in a divine being by the conscience of man is utterly false. The gods were the reproduction of men's passions with a superior degree of power. When revelation was given, and redemption was made known by God, then holiness and goodness were made known and estimated, but nowhere else. That is, instead of the conscience being between us and the Bible or a positive revelation, there must be a revelation between God and us and our conscience, or if you please, between God and us, in order that the conscience may feel that God must be good and holy to be God at all. When the revelation has been given, the conscience recognizes it, but never before.
Now this is essential and conclusive on the question before us, and shows us that conscience within is wholly incapable of judging. But there is a conscience, and when a divine revelation or light comes to it from God, it is susceptible of impressions from it, so as to have a right judgment, but never without, as to what is divine. Modern infidels are reasoning from the effect of divine light, to deny its necessity. As when light comes in, the eye can see; with none it cannot, and would never know it could. Scripture is true—when men had the knowledge of God, they did not discern to retain God in their knowledge.
Men have not weighed these facts, or rather, have not thought of them; but they are true, and they certainly put the pretensions of infidelity and of man's mind in a very peculiar light. They are really vaunting themselves as competent to judge Christianity; whereas the only light they have to judge it by, they have got from it, or from Judaism. Without it man's mind sunk into the grossest idolatry and moral degradation. A revelation alone enabled them, by revealing what God really is, and so forming their understandings to judge of what He ought to be. There is another point strikes me in our conversation. How little their themes bear the test of history and facts. They make boast of philosophy, but it is well known that up to Socrates, it was little but Cosmogony, and Plato's morality was communism, and his theology demonism, perhaps metempsychosis. This argument from conscience is what they are least able to meet, for one was conscious that an unholy God, or one that was not good, could not have been borne for a moment.
And it is less possible, because men have a revelation. It is their great theme abroad. But it is always useful to meet infidels on their own ground—I mean on its untenableness, as has been already referred to. If God is simply good, and the fall and redemption are not God's truth, explain to me the state of this world, three-quarters heathen, and of the other, a great part Mussulman or Papist, and every kind of misery and degradation dominant, and selfishness the dominant spring of all its activities, where lusts and passions are not so. If man be not fallen, where is God's goodness? And if God be not good, what is? Christianity tells me man is fallen, and reveals to me God in goodness in the midst of the misery, and redemption has an issue out of it: and the history of man, not succeeding generations sacrificed to rationalists' theories of progress of the fifty-ninth century; but revelations of this goodness and deliverance for faith to lay hold of from the day of man's fall, though the time was not come to accomplish the thing promised. And allow me to ask you, if man be so competent, how comes it there is so much difficulty, and conflict, and uncertainty? Why is there so much difficulty in finding out God? Why any question of discovering Him, if men have not lost Him? Why did men believe in Jupiter, or Siva, &c., or Odin King of men, or Ormuzd and Ahriman, or Khem, or a host of others, which it is useless for me to follow?
Why have they such difficulty, when it is owned God must be good and holy, in coming to Him and walking with Him? No; it is evident man has got away from God, many horridly, degradingly; and the fairest of Eve's daughters caring more for a pretty ribbon, and of her sons for gold or a title, than all which God presents to them, to win their hearts in the Son of God's sufferings, and offering up Himself in grace for them. No; man is fallen, has lost the sense of what God is, and of His love—has not his heart's delight in that which God is, or what is supremely good. Nothing proves it more than his not finding it out. God has given a conscience; but it does not judge the word: the word of God judges it. In one sense, every man must judge; but his judgment reveals him in presence of the word. A man's judgment of other things always reveals his own state. He is certainly lost, condemned, if he does not receive the word. God speaks, and gives adequate witness of who He is. “He that believeth not is condemned already.” Light is come into the world. If men prefer darkness, it is not their conscience. There will must be at work.
I ask, is man bound to receive the love of God or not? There He is to test every man's soul by His reception, or the contrary. It does not test the soul. He has a right to judge, you tell me. If he does not receive Him, he proves himself bad, bad in will. He has to judge; but if he rejects what is perfect in goodness, his own state is shown. He is judged by his approval or disapproval of what is there, because perfection, because God manifest in the flesh, is there—because God is speaking woe to him who dues not hearken. Yes, he has to judge. It is not his right: he is a lost creature; but he is tested by it—it is his responsibility. How he can meet it, I do not inquire here. I believe the grace of God is needed; but there is God speaking—speaking in grace. Is He received or not? The two things John speaks of here are the words of God, and One come from above who is above all. Am I not bound to listen? am I not bound to receive? You tell me, must I not judge whether they are His words, and whether He came from above? I answer, yes; but you are judged by the result you come to, because God knows He has given a perfectly-adapted and gracious witness; yea, that He is it. If you have rejected this, you have rejected Him, and remain in your sins and under wrath.

The Calling of the Disciples

There is no discrepancy between what John relates, chapter 1:33-42, respecting Andrew and Simon following Jesus at Jordan, and the account given by the other evangelists of their being called at the sea of Galilee. John describes the first interview which those two disciples had with Jesus, but says nothing regarding their subsequent call at the sea of Galilee. That Andrew and Simon, after this interview with Jesus, returned to their occupation as fishermen, is very evident from Luke's narrative, chapter 5:1-11

The Canon of Scripture and the Various Divisions of the Books

It is very remarkable in how many different senses the word Canon is used, though all these senses are traceable to one idea attached to it. Originally it is a Greek word signifying Reed, whence our own word Cane is derived; then by an easy transition, it is supplied to anything in shape resembling a Reed or Cane, especially a Ruler for drawing straight lines. There is no doubt that the word Cannon, for great guns, comes from the same source, notwithstanding our spelling it with two n's. Then it is taken to signify a Rule for directing the conduct. Thus a clergyman connected with a cathedral is called a Canon; because he is supposed to live according to a certain Rule. And we speak of the Canon of Scripture, meaning thereby those books which are to be taken as the Rule of faith.
Hence by canonical Scripture is to be understood those writings which are stamped with Divine and infallible authority, and are distinguished from all others which are submitted to our judgment, and upon which we are free to pronounce an opinion. A canonical book is given to us, as containing the word of God, i.e., the message or command which God sends to us; and is therefore entirely beyond our doubts or our opinions.
From this it follows that every canonical book must be recommended by some one, who carried the Divine authority along with him—some one to whom Jehovah had actually appeared, and given the commission to execute his office. It is not, of course, needed that the writer should himself have received his mission from Jehovah; but some such an one must have seen and sanctioned the work. The books of the prophets in the Old Testament are all published, as containing the words which Jehovah spoke to the Prophets. And the other books received the sanction of such prophets, before they were accepted as containing the rule of faith, or as being canonical.
In the case of the books of the Old Testament our inquiry is really enclosed within narrower Hunts than might at first sight appear: for the very greatest authority we could possibly have is that of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was indeed Jehovah incarnate. He frequently refers to the Old Scriptures, as containing the word of life, and as being a certain collection of books, then accounted sacred by the Jews. If we can ascertain what the recognized Canon of Scripture among the Jews was in his time, we know at once what we are to receive as canonical. Now there is no doubt whatever upon this point. We, and all reformed churches, are quite in agreement with the Jews here. It is a matter undisputed by any one, that those books of the Old Testament which we venerate as canonical were the only Scriptures known to the Jews, when our Savior preached in Judea.
The Roman Catholic Church receives as canonical certain books which are rejected by the Reformers, and called by them The Apocrypha. This word signifies what is concealed, and seems originally to have been applied to those books which were not published and universally known as canonical Scriptures, but were confined to some few heretical congregations, known only to them, and concealed except from the initiated. And then it came to mean, as with us, specially those books sometimes classed as belonging to the Old Testament, but never received by the Jews as such. These books were appended to the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint, and thence transferred to the Vulgate or Latin translation made from the Septuagint. Some of these books, as Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, are in every way to be recommended, as containing wise and pious precepts, though not directly sanctioned by Divine authority. Some of the books of Maccabees are good and reliable history, while others are mere extravagant romances, of no value whatever.
Let it be observed that the Roman Church does not deny the fact upon which the Reformers proceeded—viz., that these Apocryphal books were never received as canonical by the Jews. It will be seen, on reference to the preface of the Douay Bible—i.e.; the English version of the Bible sanctioned by the Roman Church—that the canonicity of the Apocrypha is made to rest solely on the dogmatic authority of the Church.
In the case of the New Testament the whole of Christendom is agreed. All the books making up its canon were composed within the compass of a single generation; and therefore easily capable of being marked off from all other writings. Every single book of the New Testament was written either by an apostle, or in the case of two of the gospels, by immediate companions of apostles. And, as though to make assurance doubly sure, the life of John was extended over a long period, in order that no book might go out to the world, as canonical and inspired, but what he had sanctioned as such; and in this matter he exercised his Master's authority.
There were indeed some congregations at an early time, which had not known some of the books—such as the Epistle to the Hebrews, the 2nd Epistle of Peter, the two shorter Epistles of John, and. the Apocalypse: but, upon investigation, it is clearly seen that they never rejected these writings, but only that the writings had not at that moment reached them.
And never at any time were inferior or spurious writings allowed to usurp the place of Scripture. There are several ancient books in existence, certainly written very soon after, and some even before, the Canon of the New Testament was settled: such as the epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, an Epistle ascribed to Barnabas, and certainly of very ancient date: some Epistles of Ignatius and Polycarp, who were St. John's disciples, and a curious allegory, called the Shepherd of Hernias. These books are genuine and perhaps more or less valuable; but no one ever mistook them for Scripture. There are also extant, but very little known, certain manifest forgeries—such as a pretended Epistle of Christ to King Abgarus, several pretended gospels, and some spurious Epistles. We call these forgeries manifest, for they abound in the most palpable anachronisms and mistakes, and never seem to have deceived any one. Some of the stories about the early life of Jesus are in marked contrast with the simplicity and truthfulness of the real Gospels, and are filled with the wildest accounts of his miracles.
Next, we may say a few words as to the various divisions and sub-divisions we find in our Bibles. The distinction into the Old and New Testaments is obvious enough; and signifies the separation between what preceded and what followed the coming of Christ in the flesh.
From an early period the Jews made a threefold division of their Scriptures: into the law, the prophets, and the sacred writings, to which allusion is made by our Lord himself. A great deal has been said as to the origin of this division: and the following may be taken as the most probable. The law of Moses stood, of course, by itself, as it contained their national covenant, which subsequent scripture writers explained and illustrated, but did not add to it. This law was read through in the synagogues once in the course of the year: a certain portion being read every sabbath morning, and constituting what we should call a first lesson. And each of these divisions was subdivided into seven portions, one of which was allotted to each of the seven readers who read the lesson.
There arose also the custom of reading, as a second lesson, some portion of the rest of the Scriptures, which might illustrate the first lesson out of the law. The books, therefore, out of which these selections were taken constitute a class apart, under the general name of the Prophets; although the greater part of the historical books were included among them. And the remaining books constituted the third class under the name of the Sacred Writings.
The sequence of the books in the Hebrew Bibles is clearly that due to synagogue requirements; whereas that observed in our English and in all modern Bibles is the more natural arrangement, and is derived from the Latin Vulgate, which again received it from the Septuagint or early Greek version of the Old Testament.
Our division is—lst, the law; 2nd, the historical books in their chronological order; 3rd, the devotional books in. their presumed order; and 4th, the prophetical in order, partly of time and partly of importance.
In the New Testament, till comparatively a recent epoch, the books had no settled divisions; only running titles at the top or in the margin of the MSS. to denote what the text was treating of. The arrangement of the books has always been as we now have them.
Our present division into chapters and verses is really very modern. In the middle of the thirteenth century, i. e., during the reign of our Henry HI., about the time when our first parliament sat, a certain Dominican, Cardinal Hugo De Sancto Caro, while preparing a concordance for the Vulgate (the first of that nature extant) divided the entire Bible into chapters, which were copied from him into all the subsequent editions and translations, and have remained unchanged to the present day. He did not subdivide into verses; but placed down the margin at equal distances the letters A. B. C. D. for convenience of reference.
The introduction of verses is still more modern, being unknown for 200 years after the division into chapters; and our own earlier English Bibles, such as Wycliffe's at the end of the fourteenth century, and Tynedale's and Coverdale's in the first half of the sixteenth century, have the chapters, but not the verses.
The history of the verses is this. About the year 1450, near the time of the introduction of printing, when the Hebrew Bibles began to be much sought after, a certain Rabbi Mordecai Nathan, a learned Jew of Vience, published a concordance of the Hebrew Bible, and adopted Cardinal Hugo's chapters, which were found convenient. And he added the subdivision into verses, which as far as the Old Testament is concerned, remained as at present. But for a century afterward, that is till about 1551, this division into verses seems to have been unknown in the Christian Bibles. It is said to have been introduced by the celebrated French printer, Robert Stephens, who, adopting the Jewish verses for the old Testament, added the verses now in use for the New. And this arrangement was speedily transferred to all Bibles and Testaments. The first English Bible in which verses appear is that published by Archbishop Parker in 1568, commonly called the Bishop's Bible, and which immediately preceded our present, or King James' Bible.
There are many inconveniences attending our chapters and verses, as they appear to have been made quite arbitrarily, and often interrupt the sense. It should never be forgotten that they were originally intended solely for concordances, and for facility of reference. And every Bible student should accustom himself to get rid of the notion that they have any other use.
It may be mentioned, in conclusion, that the word Bible is really a plural noun, meaning the Books merely, i. e., of course the sacred books. And this plural character should never be lost sight of; for we may fall into serious mistakes if we forget the different times, and in part the different objects, of the several books making up the Bible.
It so happens that the same word in Greek expresses Covenant and Testament. The Old Scriptures are called by Paul, 2 Cor. 3:14, the Old Testament, because they contain the old covenant made with Israel. And, this name becoming fixed to the first volume, it soon became customary to call, by way of contrast, the second volume, the New Testament.
W. H. J.

Change No Cure

Man changes his way but does not cure himself.
The calf of the wilderness was followed by the Captain; but both were evil.
Idols in the land lead to Babylon; but return from Babylon leads to infidel pride, as in Malachi.
The Lord tells us of change without cure in the swept house. Matt. 12; Luke 11
The Apostle tells us of “latter times” and of “last days,” but both evil though different. 1 Tim. 4; 2 Tim. 3
The Apocalypse tells us of Babylon and the Beast; and of the nations giving up the one for the other; but both are evil. Rev. 17
Thus change there is but no cure. Judgment therefore closes the scene and makes way for a new thing-not a mended thing. Glory succeeds judgment.

Christ Dwelling in Our Hearts by Faith

As knowing Jesus to be precious to our souls, our eyes and hearts, being occupied with Him, will be effectually kept from being taken up with the vanity and sin around. And this, too, will be our strength against the sin and corruption within. Whatever I see in myself that is not in Him is sin. But then it is not thinking upon my own sins, and being occupied with my own vileness, that will humble me, but thinking of the Lord Jesus and dwelling upon the excellencies in Him. It is well to be done with ourselves and to be taken up with Jesus. We are entitled to forget ourselves—we are entitled to forget our sins—we are entitled to forget all but Jesus. It is by looking unto Jesus that we can give up anything, and can walk as obedient children. His love constrains us. Were it simply a command, we should have no power to obey.

Christian Love and Union

There are still Christians who believe that God in supreme love became a man, and so died for them in love—that the first of duties, the truest affection, without which all others are vile, is to appreciate Him who did it as we ought—that the first of all obligations is to the Savior; and that to slight that, and to attempt to sustain love in despite of that, is the chiefest wickedness and the worst of all dispositions. We owe something to Christ; and if He be dishonored and slighted, 1 may seek to win, but I cannot be the loving companion of one who has denied my Lord deliberately. “To me to live is Christ.” To own Him and dishonor Him is worse than heathenism: it is to own and acquiesce in His dishonor when I know better. The man who believes Christ to be God, and is the professed Christian companion of him who denies it, is worse than the latter. We may all alas! err; but he who knows the truth, and accepts what he knows degrades Christ, is deliberately preferring ease and companionship to Him though he may dignify it with the name of love. Every effort to recover is right; but a step in acquiescence is a step in disloyalty to One whom no one would have dared to dishonor if He had not come down in love.
Christ, not opinion, is the center of union; but I never meant, nor do I mean, that a true Christ and a false one were equally good as a center, provided people are amiable one with another; for that means that union is man's amiability and the denial of Christ. What do I want of union if it be not union in Christ, according to the power of life, through the Holy Ghost'?
The business of those united is Christ's glory. If Christians ever unite on a condition of that not being essential, their union is not Christian union at all. I have no reason for union but Christ, the living Savior. I do not want any union but that which makes Him the center and the all and the hope of it. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren;” but to make that a plea for indifference to Christ's personal glory, in order to be one with him who calling himself a brother denies and undermines it, is, in my mind, wickedness.

What Is the Church? Do the Old Testament Saints Form Part of It? Part 1

Few questions can compare in importance with those which relate to the nature, calling, privileges, responsibilities, and destiny of “the Church of God.” There are indeed questions of foundation-truth, as to God Himself, as to the person and sacrifice of His beloved Son, and as to the application of His saving benefits by the Spirit through faith, which take precedence of all others. But where these, through the mercy of God, are settled questions, and the soul by faith knows God in Christ, through the quickening operation of the Holy Ghost, it finds itself associated with many others in the blessedness to which it is thus introduced; and there can scarcely then be a more important inquiry than this, What has God revealed touching the corporate standing of those who are thus linked together by their enjoyment of the common salvation? In what relation do they stand to God? to Christ? to the Holy Spirit? to one another? and to the world '? If these mutual and corporate relations do form a subject of inspired instruction, how much must depend on our reception of it, as to intelligent communion, enlightened obedience, faithful testimony, and fruitfulness in every way to the glory of God.
We hesitate not to avow our conviction, that God has fully revealed His mind on these subjects; and we believe spiritual acquaintance therewith, to be one of the most pressing wants of Christians generally in the present day. With this conviction, we hail the appearance of the papers before us. Hostile as they are, to what we deem the scripture doctrine of “the Church,” their publication indicates the hold which that doctrine has gained on many minds; and it tends, at the same time, to promote still further inquiry. Total silence as to this doctrine has, for years, been observed by some, who have viewed its propagation with no friendly eye; and that now they should deem it needful openly to resist it, only shows the extent to which, through the mercy of God, it has forced itself on the attention of His people. Nor do we intend anything unkind to the writer (or writers) of these articles, when we add, that the character of their opposition in no degree abates our confidence in the doctrine they assail. For what mode of discussion have they chosen to adopt? Do they meet the whole question fairly in the face, and examine, and test by scripture, the definition of “the Church,” given by those whose views they controvert? Do they consider in detail the array of New Testament evidence, by which that definition is sustained? Do they demolish thus the position they assail, and afterward proceed to give their own definition of the principal term in question, demonstrating, by scripture quotations, that such is its universal or even its ordinary signification and use, in God's holy word? To have discussed the question thus, would have brought it fairly to the test of scripture, and would evidently, on the whole, have best promoted the interests of truth. But we see no want of charity in supposing, that this (or some similar mode of discussion) would have been the course adopted, had it afforded any prospect of success. So far from this, is the line actually pursued in these articles, that, evading the primary question as to what “the Church” is, and silently passing over what has been advanced on this subject, they rest their whole case on objections, having reference to the Old Testament saints, and their place in the scene of future glory. This is little more than a collateral, and certainly a very subordinate question. It derives its importance from the bearing it is represented as having on the general subject. Had more direct and weighty arguments been at command, we may be sure, from the animus of these papers, especially the last, that they would have been employed. But as the inferential reasoning on subordinate points which is used, might lead some to prejudge the whole question, and settle down in conclusions unwarranted by scripture, contrary to its scope, and subversive of some of its plainest teachings on the primary and specific subject of what “the Church” really is, we are ready to examine all that these papers contain. But as truth and edification, not controversy and triumph, are the objects we desire to keep in view, the editor of the Quarterly Journal and his contributor (or contributors) must excuse us, if we seek to keep in relief what they have sought to put in the shade, the doctrine of the New Testament as to what constitutes “the Church of God.”
1. We believe that what scripture terms “the Church,” did not exist in Old Testament times. If it did, where are the passages which prove it? Where in the Old Testament does the phrase occur? Or where is the subject treated of under any other terms? If there be passages in the ancient scriptures which recognize “the Church” as then existing, what could be easier than to produce them? or what so decisive of the question which these articles discuss? But no such passages are produced; and for the best of reasons, that none such can be found. Indeed these articles themselves do not contend that “the Church” existed on earth in Old Testament times. One of them, the second, admits that “Abraham and the Old Testament saints had not the same fullness of light, nor the same dispensational privileges, as were possessed by Peter, and Paul, and John. Neither the Old Testament saints, nor even John the Baptist, who came between the Old Testament and the New, were dispensationally in the kingdom of heaven as an economy on the earth.” (pp. 9S, 99.) Now we are far from accepting the quiet assumption of the writer, that “the Church” and “the kingdom of heaven” are equivalent terms; but this affects not his admission, that there are dispensational differences between Old Testament saints and such as are under the “economy” at present existing on “earth.” His estimate of these differences may be, that they are of little importance; and he may contend that “heaven is not made a transcript of the dispensational differences of earth;” but the question is, In what light does scripture present these differences? They would certainly not seem unimportant, from such words as the following; words, be it remembered, not addressed to “the Church,” but to the disciples during the life-time of our Lord on earth. Even at that time we are told, “he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: for I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them.” (Luke 10:23, 24.) And the disciples were far from having at that time heard or seen the whole of what was intended for them. It was long after this, and just on the eve of their Lord's departure, that He said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16; 12:13) Surely, if what they saw and heard, in the earlier stage of their tuition by our Lord Himself, had been the object of longing, but unsatisfied, desire to the saints of former ages, there must be a still greater chasm between all that those Old Testament saints enjoyed, and the blessedness of the disciples, when the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, had come. Dispensational differences there were, as the articles under review admit: but they were of a character such as these articles would never suggest. This will become more apparent as we proceed. Meanwhile, it is well to remember, that it is not even contended in these articles, that “the Church” existed on earth in Old Testament times.
2. There did exist in those ancient days, and that as recognized of God, a state of things quite incompatible with the scriptural conditions of the existence of “the Church.” In “the Church” there is neither Jew nor Gentile; while in Old Testament times these words expressed a distinction divinely instituted, and which might on no account be set aside. To neglect the appointed feasts and holy days was, in the last dispensation, a sin so grievous, that Israel's captivity and dispersion are said to be, that the land might “enjoy her sabbaths; as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land, even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. As long as it lieth desolate, it shall rest because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.” (Lev. 26:34, 35.) Now, to “observe days, and months, and times, and years,” is enough to make an apostle stand in doubt of those who do so. (Gal. 4:10.) Then, there was one place, where the Lord had chosen to place His name, and there alone might He be approached and worshipped. Now, no special sanctity attaches to one place rather than another, but “where two or three are gathered,” says our Lord, “in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” “The uncircumcised” was then an appellation resting upon all but the favored, separated race: now we read, “I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.” This may surely serve to show, that the differences we are contemplating are not mere variations of circumstance or detail, but radical, fundamental differences. Let it not be forgotten, either, that there were true saints at that time—pardoned, no doubt, and made heirs of ultimate, everlasting felicity, through the retrospective efficacy of Christ's precious blood. But the grace by which such chosen ones were saved, so far from placing them outside the frame-work of the dispensation under which they lived, inclined their hearts to observe, with a faithfulness peculiar to themselves, both the principles and institutions of that economy. With them it was obedience and faithfulness to observe, what it is faithfulness in “the Church” to disregard. How evident that “the Church” not only did not, but could not then exist.
3. It was not even by the incarnation, or the personal ministry of our Lord upon earth, that “the Church” was formed. No doubt the incarnation was an essential pre-requisite to the formation of “the Church,” just as it was to the accomplishment of redemption. But redemption was accomplished, not by incarnation, but by the cross. And while the wondrous Person, confessed by Peter as “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” was beyond all question “the Rock,” on which not “the Church” only, but all who shall be saved everlastingly are built, we have the authority of that Blessed One Himself for the assurance, that but for His death He must have continued “alone.” He was the foundation; but it was in his death on the cross that He was laid as such; and in His very reply to Peter, in which He speaks of Himself as the “Rock” on which “the Church” was to be built, He speaks of the building of it, as a then future work. He does not say “upon this rock I have built,” or “am building,” but “upon this rock I will build my church.” And, as though to intimate at once how He was to be laid as the foundation of this edifice, “from that time forth, began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and he killed, and be raised again the third day.” (Matt. 16:21.)
“The Church” is again mentioned in Matt. 18 “tell it to the Church.” But here also, our Lord evidently speaks anticipatively of His own departure, and of the time when His name should replace His bodily presence, as the center around which His disciples should be gathered. John 16:23, 24, shows, that while He continued with them, they did not ask in His name, but that they were to do so, when His bodily presence had been withdrawn. One thing is undeniable: that where Christ Himself mentions “the Church” He speaks of its formation as a then future event. The above are the only two instances in which we read of the word being used by Him; and further investigation will show, that where without the use of this term, the subject is contemplated in His discourses, He speaks of the existence of “the Church,” as well as of that by which it exists, as dependent on His own departure.
4. It was not till after His ascension, that our Lord baptized with the Holy Ghost, and it is by this baptism, that “the Church” exists. If there be one function or prerogative of Christ more insisted on in the gospels than any other, as essentially distinctive of His person and office, it is that of baptizing with the Holy Ghost. It is omitted by none of the evangelists. Their histories of our Lord's forerunner vary in length and in minuteness; but each records his testimony, that the greater, the mightier than he, should “baptize with the Holy Ghost.” Each records also, in connection therewith, the descent of the Holy Ghost upon our Lord Himself. But on this point, John the Baptist's testimony, as recorded by the beloved disciple, is of deep and special interest. “And I knew him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.” (John 1:33.) What function could be more essentially divine than this? Who but a divine person could dispense, as of His own bounty, heaven's richest treasure? Who else could baptize with the Holy Ghost? And yet He to whom this distinctive glory belonged, was Himself a man, undistinguishable from others even by His own forerunner, till marked out to Him by His reception of that which He was afterward to bestow. How deep and real was the humiliation of the One who had thus “descended” low enough to receive, as man, that gift of the Holy Ghost, which He alone, as God, could bestow! Surely it behooves us, with unshod feet, and in the spirit of lowliest worship, to tread such holy ground, as that on which these wonders unfold themselves.
But when was this Blessed One to baptize with the Holy Ghost? Was this among the miracles of love and mercy with which His service on earth was replete? Or was it reserved as the crowning miracle, which was to signalize His ascension to heaven, when He had been rejected and crucified on earth? With any one familiar with the New Testament, to ask this question is to answer it. It was after His resurrection that our Lord, “being assembled together with” His disciples, “commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said He, ye have heard of Me: for John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence” (Acts 1:5, 6). On this passage we would remark, 1. How the Lord refers to the baptism of John; literally quoting his words, as though to place beyond dispute, that the event of which He Himself now spake as imminent, was to be the definite accomplishment of John's well known prediction concerning Him. The prophecy, and its imminent fulfillment, are placed by our Lord in juxta-position, that their relation to each other may be perceived by all. 2. This passage demonstrates, that when these words were spoken by the risen Savior, the baptism with the Holy Ghost had not yet taken place. If the disciples had not received it, on whom could it have been conferred? 3. It is equally clear, that this baptism was none other than the descent of the Holy Ghost, ten days after these words were uttered. The disciples were not to depart from Jerusalem but wait, for they should be baptized with the Holy Ghost “not many days hence.” 4. Our Lord identifies this baptism with “the promise of the Father, which, said he, ye have heard of me.” Can there be a doubt that He here refers to His closing discourse to His disciples, in John 14 – 16? There, it is admitted by all, the promise of the Spirit is to be understood of the descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost. And when to all this is added the fact, that the first mention of “the Church” historically, as actually existing, is immediately after the record of this event, it may well be asked how demonstration could be more complete, than that which is thus afforded, that “the Church” began to exist on the day of Pentecost?
“And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” This first historical mention of “the Church,” so soon after the descent of the Spirit, is no mere incidental, fortuitous connection of events. It is by the baptism of the Holy Ghost, that “the Church” exists; and there could be no mention of the effect, save anticipatively, before the cause which produces it was in operation. In the chapter in which Paul treats expressly of these subjects—in which he says, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular,” —in which he speaks of God having set apostles, prophets, &c., “in the church,” —in that very chapter he says, “For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). Could there be a more express declaration, that it is by the baptism of the Holy Ghost, that “the Church” — “the body of Christ” —exists?
5. What is this baptism of the Holy Ghost? A most momentous question, and of the deepest importance to the correct apprehension of the subject before us. The second of the two articles under review, referring to such as hold the views we are propounding, says, “Abraham and the Old Testament saints, say they, are to be excluded, because they did not receive, whilst on earth, the Holy Spirit, in the same manner as we have received it, who have lived since Pentecost.” Let us see whether Christ and His apostles so speak of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, as to warrant observations tending, as these do (however unconsciously to the writer), to depreciate its importance. Let us see whether they treat it as a mere receiving of the Spirit in a different manner from the Old Testament saints. What is the baptism with the Holy Ghost?
First, as to the expression “received” — “because they (the Old Testament saints) did not receive, while on earth, the Holy Spirit, in the same manner as we.” The writer's view evidently is, that the Old Testament saints, and we who have lived since Pentecost, have all received the Holy Ghost, only in a different manner. Turn then, dear reader, to John 7:37, 38. “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” What means this wondrous announcement? was it of a blessedness to be at once, during the Savior's lifetime on earth, experienced by thirsty souls who came to Him to drink, that He thus spake? was it then, at that very time, that such were not only to be themselves refreshed by the living water, but also to be channels through which rivers of it should flow to others? The largeness and graciousness of the Savior's words might seem to have left them open to this construction. But to prevent this—to prevent all misapprehension as to what those rivers of living were, or as to when they were to flow, the beloved disciple is inspired of God to add, “But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet [given]; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” If then, our Lord's own words, authoritatively expounded by the Holy Ghost, are to decide the question, the difference between saints before, and saints after Pentecost, is not a mere difference in the manner of receiving the Spirit. What scripture calls receiving the Spirit had no existence, and could not have, till Jesus was glorified. “The Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive.” And as though to preclude the possibility of a question, we are told, “for the Holy Ghost was not yet [given],” —surely then not yet received— “because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”
Do we then deny that there were “saints” in Old Testament times? or maintain that before Pentecost, people became saints without the operation of the Spirit? Far be the thought! We have never for a moment questioned the “saintship” of Abraham, the italics are thus printed in the article itself.
Moses, and others: nor have we ever imagined that any man, in any age, could become a saint, save by the agency and work of God the Holy Ghost. But scripture distinguishes what our brethren unwittingly confound. It distinguishes “the baptism with the Holy Ghost” — “the gift of the Holy Ghost” — “the receiving of the Holy Ghost” —from those operations of the Spirit by which, equally before and after Pentecost, souls are quickened and renewed. Because the faith that saves, as well as every gracious temper, and holy act resulting therefrom, are, and always have been wrought in fallen man by the Holy Spirit, the inference is drawn, that all saints of all ages have received the Spirit, and that any change since Pentecost has only been in the manner of receiving it. But had not Peter, James, and John, been as surely regenerated by the Spirit, as Abraham, David, or Isaiah? Had not Jesus said to them, “Now ye are clean, through the word which I have spoken to you!” Had He not said of them, “I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me: and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me?” And yet, according to John 7:39, they had not “received” the Spirit; “for the Holy Ghost was not yet [given]; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” It was after all this that their risen Lord assured them, “ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”
What is this baptism with the Holy Ghost? May we not receive some instruction as to it from the descent of the Spirit on our Lord Himself? He is never said, indeed, to have been baptized with the Holy Ghost, but He is said to have been “anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power” (Acts 10:38). Again, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me,” &c. (Luke 4:18). So characteristic is this anointing of the place which Jesus had been ordained to fill, that this is what the very name “Christ” denotes. “The anointed,” “Messiah,” and “Christ,” are but one and the same title of this blessed One, to whom all glory belongs. Evidently it was as man that He received this anointing. But as man He was already perfect; as to His nature He was so from the first; “conceived of the Holy Ghost,” His nature, as man, was essentially holy. The meat-offering under the law—emblem of Christ in the perfectness of His life on earth—was compounded with oil, as well as anointed therewith. He did not need the anointing to make Him what He already was, pure, holy, perfect; but He received it as the broad seal, visibly set upon Him, of the ineffable satisfaction with which God His Father viewed Him in the place He had stooped to occupy. “Him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:27) And seeing that the place to which He had thus stooped was none other than the subject, dependent, creature-place, it behooved Him that all He did, and said, and suffered, should be manifestly not by any power inherent in Him as man, perfectly holy as He was, but by the power of the Holy Ghost. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil: for God was with him.” Accordingly, from the moment the Spirit descended like a dove lighting upon Him, we find everything attributed to the Spirit, as the power in which Christ fulfilled His mission. He was “led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (Matt. 4:1). “He returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee,” (Luke 4:14). “if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God,” said He, “then the kingdom of God is come unto you” (Matt. 12:28). “Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God” (Heb. 9:14). Even after His resurrection it is said of Him, “until the day in which He was taken up, after that He through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen” (Acts 1:2). Not only was this blessed One “God over all,” — “God manifest in the flesh;” not only was He perfect man, holy and without spot; but because He was so, He was the vessel of the full power of the Holy Ghost, with which He was anointed, and in the power of which His whole work was accomplished. But, until His ascension, He was the alone vessel in which the Spirit thus dwelt and wrought. The disciples were, no doubt, quickened by His divine power as the Son, and the subjects thus, as all saints had ever been, of the regenerating operation of the Spirit. From their Master they had received power also to heal the sick and cast out devils, just as prophets of former days had received such power from God for special ends to be answered by their ministry. For such ends there had been individuals even “filled with the Holy Ghost;” as, for instance, Elizabeth (Luke 1:41), Zacharias (verse 67), and John the Baptist (ver. 15). The two former seem to have been so filled for the particular occasion, the latter habitually. But all this is distinct from that of which Jesus was the first and the only perfect example; we mean, the being sealed or anointed with the Holy Ghost, in such sort as to become the temple of His presence, the vessel of his power, so that everything said and done was the expression of His holiness, and by the working of His power. “The Church,” by being baptized with the Holy Ghost, is brought, derivatively and subordinately, into a similarly blessed place. In Christ there was no opposing will or power; while in us alas! there is. He received the anointing, moreover, as the seal of what He was intrinsically, while it is only “in Him,” by virtue of His person and work and of our union with Him, that we are “anointed,” or “sealed.” But, giving full place to these and all other essential differences between the saints and Him who “in all things” must “have the pre-eminence,” it still remains true, that by the baptism with the Holy Ghost, saints are now so incorporated with Christ, so one with Him, as to form the vessel of the presence and power of the Holy Ghost. A passage, one verse of which has been already quoted, declares this in the most emphatic terms. Both verses are as follows: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body being many are one body, SO ALSO IS CHRIST. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:12, 13). So absolutely one are the Head and members by the one Spirit, which has baptized all into one body, that to the whole—Head and members together—the name Christ (the anointed) is given— “SO ALSO IS CHRIST.” The whole chapter treats of the operations of the Spirit in this body, in which He dwells. All serve as “the manifestation of the Spirit,” (verse 7), to demonstrate that “it is the same God which worketh all in all” (verse 6). But whatever variety there may be of gifts, services, or operations, “all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will” (ver. 11). Did anything like this exist in Old Testament times, or at any time prior to the day of Pentecost? Is it not here directly attributed to the baptism with the Holy Ghost? and have we not seen, by the concurrent testimony of several witnesses, that never till Pentecost did this take place? Jesus Himself was anointed with the Holy Ghost on earth. But in that He was alone. To share this holy unction with His people, He had to receive it afresh on high, as the seal of His Father's infinite delight with the whole work He had perfected below. It was to be in answer, also, to His own intercession on high. “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter” (John 14:16). Himself anointed “with the oil of gladness, above his fellows” (Heb. 1:9), it was to communicate it to them that He thus received it. “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear” (Acts 2:23). “The Church” is the result.
(To be continued.)

What Is the Church? Do the Old Testament Saints Form Part of It? Part 2

It is true that, even after the formation of the Church, by the descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, divine mercy lingered over Jerusalem and her sons, unwilling to give them up, so long as any means of bringing them to repentance was left untried. The expression of this mercy in the special character of Peter's ministry to the Jews, has been already pointed out in the “Bible Treasury” (see p. 41). But connected with this peculiar ministry of the apostle of the circumcision were two remarkable facts. First, the numerous converts to Christ who were its fruit, instead of constituting the Jewish remnant, of which psalmists and prophets had so largely written, as passing through the final troubles in Judea, and emerging into the light and gladness of millennial times, were “added to the church” —to that new and unique assembly, which had begun to be formed on the day of Pentecost. Secondly, so distinct was this assembly from the Jewish nation, as such, that when Peter and John had been before the rulers, who had threatened the two apostles, and let them go, we read of these, that “being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.” There now existed within the Jewish community, Gentiles not having yet been called, a perfectly distinct body or corporation to which, as to their own, company, the apostles returned, when threatened by the rulers. The rejection of the apostles' testimony—in truth the testimony of the Holy Ghost—by the heads of the nation became, at the same time, increasingly distinct, until at last it was definitively declared in the murder of Stephen. But if Jerusalem and the earth thus close their ears and hearts against the testimony of the Holy Ghost, heaven opens to the dying witness for Jesus, and he sees the glory of God, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God. Death for Christ on earth, and glory with Christ in heaven, are thus shown to be thenceforth the portion of the Church. With the exception of the twelve, the faithful are scattered from Jerusalem, and go to Samaria and beyond, preaching Christ. By special revelation, Peter is sent to the Gentiles; Saul, the persecutor, converted by sovereign grace, when in the full career of opposition to Christ, becomes the apostle of the Gentiles; Antioch, where he is first introduced by Barnabas to the work, becomes itself a center from which the evangelizing testimony goes forth; Jerusalem thus gradually loses the metropolitan place which, even as to the gospel and the Church, it had held in the earliest days of apostolic ministry; and eventually every trace of difference between Jew and Gentile disappears, being swallowed up in that transcendent grace which gathers out from both those who form the one body of the earth-rejected but heaven-enthroned Christ.
No one can read the New Testament without perceiving, that it is to this new assembly, formed at Pentecost, and gradually developed by the power of the indwelling Holy Ghost, till it embraced Gentiles as well as Jews, that the word “Church” is familiarly and habitually applied. “And the Lord added to the church.” “And great fear came upon all the church.” “At that time there was a great persecution against the church.” “As for Saul, he made havoc of the church.” “A whole year they assembled themselves with the church.” “Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.” “Prayer was made without ceasing of the church.” “The church that was at Antioch.” When they were come and had gathered the church together.” “Being brought on their way by the church.” “When they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church.” “Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church.” “When he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up and saluted the church.” “All the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” “The church of God which is at Corinth.” “As I teach everywhere in every church.” “Set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.” “Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.” “And God hath set some in the church.” “He that prophesieth edifieth the church.” “Beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it,” “Head over all things to the church.” “Christ is the head of the church.” “Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it.” “Nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.” “I speak concerning Christ and the church.” “He is the head of the body, the church.” “For his body's sake, which is the church.” “Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.” “The church of the Laodiceans.” “The church of the Thessalonians.” “The house of God, which is the church of the living God.” “The church in thy house.” “The church of the firstborn.” “Let him call for the elders of the church.” “Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church.” “I wrote unto the church.” “The church in Ephesus, Smyrna,” &c. Such are the occurrences of the word in the New Testament. We have not used a concordance in giving them, and the list may not, therefore, be quite complete. Where the word is used in the plural “churches” we have not given it. But can any one seriously glance through these passages, and deny that they speak of a body or community actually existing on earth, and which only began to exist on earth at Pentecost? Some speak indeed of that body in its totality, from the commencement to the close of its existence on earth: such, for instance, as style it, “the church of God,” “the church, which is his body,” viz., the body of Christ. Others treat of such a portion of this whole, as exists at any given time, in one place or district, and which forms “the church of God” or “the body of Christ” in that place. Some even contemplate the gathering of those who, in their particular sphere, constitute “the body the church,” in this or that believer's house. But where is there a passage which intimates, not to say affirms, that Old Testament saints, or saints on earth during the millennium, form part of the church? If any one maintain that this is the case, it is on him surely that the burden of proof rests. It is the more important to observe this, seeing that we are not aware of any who do maintain, that the Church existed as such, on earth, in Old Testament times; and as to millennial saints, most pre-millenarians would, at all events, allow, that the Church will be in some such sense complete at the beginning of the thousand years, as to be reigning with Christ throughout that period. If then the Old Testament saints are to form part of the church in glory; and if even millennial saints are ultimately to be incorporated therewith, it must be by some act, or acts, of divine power, apart from that which formed the Church on earth at Pentecost, and which continues the process of its formation throughout the present period. And where are we told in scripture of any such act of divine power? And if no such scripture testimony be produced by our brethren, how can we be expected to assent to their conclusions?
But it is time we turned to a more detailed examination of the two papers in the Quarterly Journal. The first begins by allowing that there are “great diversities of degree” among “the innumerable company of angels;” while the next paragraph makes the following important admission: “Analogous to these diversities in that race of unfallen beings, we find among the redeemed from among the fallen considerable diversity of rank and position.” The well-known parable of the talents is first cited; and then we read, “we find mention of the 'general assembly and church of the first-born,' as well as of the spirits of ‘just men made perfect,' even as we find in the Apocalypse, not only an innumerable company that no man can number, but also a special subdivision of that company, the 144,000 whose song none can learn.” It is not to canvass these statements that we quote them, but to show how much is admitted in favor of the principle, that all the redeemed have not necessarily the same place in the scene of future glory. How far the subsequent reasonings of our contemporary, especially in the second paper, can be reconciled with these primary admissions, is another question. It is satisfactory to find that these admissions are made. For more than a distinction between “the church of the first-born,” and “the spirits of just men made perfect,” we should scarcely ourselves contend. We are told, moreover, that “these distinctions in glory are subservient, no doubt, to the manifestation of divine sovereignty in the ages to come. New Jerusalem is not built on a flat plain, nor are its palaces all of one height, and after one model. The land of uprightness has its hills and mountains, its fields and its gardens. One star differeth from another star in glory.”
But this is not the whole of what the paper before us concedes. “As to the millennial day,” says the writer, “we see it quite consistent with the analogy of divine arrangement elsewhere and at other times, that there should be the risen saints above, and on earth a vast population, like the sea and its waves, who are holy and spiritual men, but are not glorified.” The difference is, in this case, attributed to the fact of the millennial saints serving on a different platform from “those who lived amid temptation when Satan was loose, and are therefore rewarded then with the rank of kings.” Whether these kings and subjects can both alike form the body of Christ (the one class, as this article puts it, being “raised up members of Christ,” and the other, “members of Christ who have not passed through death and resurrection); whether scripture speaks of both as “members of Christ,” is part of the question in debate. There can be no question as to the one class; and if scripture does anywhere speak of the other in such terms, nothing can be easier than to produce the passages. All that we now wish to point out is this, that our brethren admit the existence, for the whole millennial period, of differences between the millennial saints, and those whom we believe the New Testament calls “the church” —differences of no less magnitude than those which distinguish men in the flesh from risen and glorified saints. According to the “Quarterly Journal,” the saints of the present period, whom we believe to be what scripture terms “the Church,” will, throughout the thousand years, be reigning with Christ in glory, while multitudes of saints will be still on earth in bodies of flesh and blood. We contend for no such difference as this between “the Church,” and Old Testament saints. We believe that the latter will, with the former, be raised and glorified at the descent of Jesus into the air; and that both will reign with Christ throughout the millennial period. We believe them, nevertheless, to be distinct; and when the writer of this paper in the “Quarterly Journal” shows how the differences he admits between glorified and earthly saints are, for a thousand years, “consistent with the analogy of divine arrangements,” we will, by the self-same arguments, show the consistency therewith of such differences between the Church and Old Testament saints as scripture appears to us to recognize.
“But,” says the article before us, “nothing of all this affects the question we propose to consider. Does THE BRIDE include the Old Testament saints? That is, it does not necessarily affect that question: for there may be all these diversities, and yet all belong to the one bride,” &c. To this we reply, that the admitted existence of certain differences, is, of course, no proof that certain others exist. But if, as is the case in the second article, these other differences are denied, not on the ground of their separate and intrinsic character, but because all who are redeemed, justified, called, and belong to Christ, must therefore “have all things” — “the highest blessings,” which any of them enjoy—then the differences, admitted at the opening of this first paper, do most materially “affect the question.” They so far affect it that the one paper upsets the other. The reasonings of the latter article are as decisive against the admissions of the former, as against the views which both are intended to contravene. If, as the second article contends, “heaven is not made a transcript of they dispensational differences of earth,” how can “the general assembly and church of the first-born” “be distinguished, as the first paper admits it is, from “the spirits of just men made perfect” “Be it, if you please, that the writer of the first paper supposes them to be distinguished only as a part is distinguished from the whole. That is a very real distinction; and it is certainly, in this case, supposed to be “a transcript of the dispensational differences of earth.” If “the differences of earth, dispensational or individual, do not continue in heaven,” (second paper, page 105,) how can the author of such a statement reconcile it either with the admissions of the first paper, or with those he is himself compelled to make, where he says “there will, indeed, be difference of reward among the members of the one redeemed family, as is taught in the words, 'Be thou over ten cities: be thou over five cities?' “He cannot consistently make the exclusion of difference absolute against us, and partial in regard to such differences as he and the writer of the first paper allow. Differences in heaven are absolutely excluded on the grounds alleged by this writer, or they are not. If they are, he is proved inconsistent with himself, and the second paper absolutely subversive of the first. If they are not, their exclusion cannot be used absolutely against the particular difference in debate; and yet this writer argues thus when his object is to condemn, as subversive of foundation truth, the sentiments of those who hold it as dear and as sacred as he can do himself! But more of this anon. We only, at present, remark on the admissions made by the first writer, and the bearing they have on the question under review.
The first writer gives a list of arguments said by him to have been alleged against the thought of the Old Testament saints forming part of “the Bride.” At these and the writer's replies we will glance seriatim; but we would, in the first place, protest against the idea that we, or any of whom we know, are anxious to prove that the Old Testament saints will not form part of “the Church,” or “Bride of Christ,” in glory. In itself, this seems to us a very subordinate question: and any prominence which may have been given to it has arisen from the efforts made, first, to assume that Old Testament saints will form part of the glorified Church; and secondly, on this ground, to depress the standard of present Church privilege and enjoyment to the level of what was proper to Old Testament saints. It is this studied and laborious effort to depreciate the Church, or rather the grace manifested towards the Church, which is so evil in its character, and withering in its influence. Supposing its full place given to what God reveals as to the present standing, calling, portion, and hope of the Church, and questions yet entertained as to whether ultimately the Old Testament saints may not become part of it in glory, nothing could be happier than humbly and lovingly to inquire together, what foundation there is in scripture for such a thought. But to assume that the Old Testament saints will surely form part of the Church in glory, and to use this assumption, where it gains credit, to deny all that is at present distinctive of the place and portion assigned to the Church by rich and sovereign grace—this is what cannot be too firmly withstood.
We do not remember anywhere to have seen 1 Peter 1:12 quoted to show that the Church will hold a place in glory distinct from that of Old Testament saints. It may have been quoted, and fairly, to show the superiority of the present dispensation to those of former times. Nor 2nd, do we remember Heb. 1, to have been so quoted. We have no doubt that “the heavenly calling” is an expression of wider import than “the church.” The fact is, that they against whom the arguments of the second paper are directed (and it is with these only that we are concerned), hold, and are often reproached for holding, that the mystery of the Church's unity by the Holy Ghost with Christ in heaven was specially revealed to Paul, and so not treated of by Peter, who was the apostle of the circumcision, nor even by Paul himself when writing to his Hebrew brethren. The truths ministered by Peter, James, and John, were all, we need not say, consistent with those specially revealed to Paul. Paul, moreover, writes on other subjects as no one would but he, to whom “this dispensation of the grace of God,” as he terms it, had been confided. But it is in Ephesians and Colossians that the subject is formally developed. And so we pass to the 3rd argument, said by the writer to be alleged against the thought of the Old Testament saints forming part of the Church. As it relates to a passage which has largely been discussed in connection with the question before us, we would consider it somewhat more fully. But let us hear the article under review.
“On no stronger grounds,” it says, “is Eph. 3:6, brought forward as excluding them, 'that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.' It is assumed too often, that the 'mystery' was something else than the discovery of that hidden truth, that not Jew only, but Gentile, should share in what Christ had done, not Judea only, but in the end all the world. The promise of the inheritance was not meant here to be spoken of as peculiar to saints of New Testament times. The old saints sang in David's days, and David led the song, 'The righteous shall inherit the earth,' and that pointed to the inheritance which the bride has claim to.” This is the whole of what is said in reply to all that has been advanced, not only on the text quoted from Eph. 3 but on the doctrine of the epistle throughout. In reply we would observe, 1, You cannot depreciate the portion of “the bride,” without equally depreciating the inheritance of the Bridegroom. The very words, expressive of their relation to each other, imply the bride's participation in all that can be shared with her by her Lord. 2. Can then Christ's inheritance, as revealed in the Epistle to the Ephesians, be brought down to the measure of such Old Testament promises as the one here quoted, that “the righteous shall inherit the earth?” “That pointed,” we are told, “to the inheritance which the Bride has claim to!” Yes, and so does the sovereignty of Rutland belong to the Queen of Great Britain! But what would be thought of any one who, in treating of the dominions to which the Prince of Wales is heir, should say, “He is to have the sovereignty of Rutland?” The illustration may appear extreme, but the proportion between Rutland and the British Empire is far greater than between “the earth” and Christ's “inheritance,” as set forth in the Epistle to the Ephesians. We read there, of the good pleasure which God hath purposed in Himself, in the dispensation of the fullness of times, to gather together (or head up) in one “all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth” (1:10). We read of the working of the mighty power of God, “which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenlies, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things,” (observe it, dear reader!) “to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him which filleth all in all.” (1:20, 23). It is in this headship over all things in heaven as well as on earth, that the Church is associated with Christ, as His body, His fullness. 3. It is after having declared this, and treated of the breaking down of the middle wall of partition by the cross, Jew and Gentile becoming, in Christ Himself, “one new man,” even the Jewish sanctuary being superseded and replaced by this living temple, this “habitation of God through the Spirit” —it is after all this, that the apostle begins to treat of “the mystery.” 4. It has not been “assumed,” as the writer in the Quarterly Journal states, but largely proved, that the “mystery” was something else than the discovery, that not Jew only, but Gentile, should share in what Christ had done, not Judea only, but in the end all the world. Let any one read Eph. 3 and the latter part of Col. 1 and say whether the apostle does not evidently labor to express, that what had been revealed to him, and by him made known to others, was something new, unprecedented, unique, and previously unrevealed, unheard of, and unknown. But could the matter have been truly represented thus, if all that he meant by “the mystery” was, that Gentiles share in what Christ had done? So far from this being a mystery hid in God, there is nothing which had been more definitely revealed. Had it not been promised and sworn to Abraham, “In thee shall all families,” and “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed?” Had not Moses said, “Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people?” Had not both Psalms and prophets largely testified, that “all the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord"? that “Ethiopia shall stretch out her hands to God"? that in the true Solomon, men shall be blessed, yea, and “all nations call him blessed?” Was he not to “sprinkle many nations,” and to be “a light to the Gentiles,” and God's “salvation to the ends of the earth?” As every one acquainted with the subject knows, such quotations might be greatly multiplied. How then can it be supposed by any, that it was a “hidden truth,” “the mystery” for the first time revealed in the apostolic age, that Gentiles “should share in what Christ had done?” 5. But while the Old Testament explicitly foretells that Gentiles should partake of salvation through Christ, it is always as distinct from Israel, and subordinate thereto, that they are represented in the ancient scriptures. “Ten men shall take hold, out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.” Jerusalem is to be called the throne of the Lord; the sons of strangers are to build up her walls, feed the flocks of her sons, and be their plowmen and vine-dressers; while they themselves are named “the priests of the Lord,” “the ministers of our God.”
Such are the conditions of Gentile blessing as revealed in the Old Testament, and to be accomplished in the ensuing dispensation. For though certain principles embodied in the prophecies on this subject may and do apply to the present period, it is in the millennium they are to be definitely fulfilled. But “the mystery,” of which Paul says so much in Ephesians and Colossians, is that of the present formation of a body, in which all distinction between Jew and Gentile is unknown, by virtue of the union and identification of both with a rejected and glorified Christ. The very verse, quoted in the article we review, speaks of Gentile believers, not only as fellow-heirs, but also “of the same body.” That they should be of the same body, even with Jews, had never been intimated: but that both should be of the same body with Christ, constituting the body of which He is the glorified Head, this was a mystery indeed, the existence and revelation of which amply justifies all that the apostle says.
We have no recollection of Luke 7:28 being used by any in proof of the special place and distinctive glory of the Church. This is the fourth passage alleged to have been so used. It may, like Peter 1:12, have been employed to show the superiority of the present over former dispensation's: but no one who understands the doctrine impugned in the two articles under review would urge this passage in its support. “The kingdom of God,” or “of heaven,” evidently includes the subjects of the heavenly rule thus designated. The members of the Church are doubtless individually, while on earth, subjects of God's kingdom; but the relation of the Church, as a whole, to Christ, is that of His bride, His body, whose place is to participate in His reign, instead of being its subjects.
(To be continued.)

What Is the Church? Do the Old Testament Saints Form Part of It? Part 3

Heb. 11:40 is treated at considerable length in both papers. In the former it is first sought to be shown that the passage says nothing in favor of any special place being assigned to saints of the present period; and then it is used as a positive argument for the equality of the Old Testament saints with these. The second paper still further considers the passage in both points of view. But the doctrine of the one paper seems to us utterly subversive of that taught by the other. The writer of the January article reasons from what he judges “the better thing” provided for us to be; but in April we are told that the passage “does not teach that God had provided something better for us than for them.” The explanation of “the better thing” in the first article we are quite at a loss to understand. First, it is urged “that the apostle was speaking of what these Old Testament saints were yet to obtain (the italics are not ours) in connection with us and along with us.” Then it is argued that “they were not without us to be made perfect (i.e., thoroughly set at rest from guilt, and introduced into full confidence toward God”). Are we then really to suppose that these departed saints have yet to obtain rest from guilt, and full confidence toward God? No such depreciation of Old Testament saints as this can justly be charged on such as hold them to be distinct from what scripture calls “the church.”
The second paper proposes a new version of the passage altogether. “But if the central clause be placed, as it should be, in a parenthesis, and if the ellipsis be supplied, then all appearance of ambiguity is removed. These all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise, (God having made a better provision for us than that, viz., that they should at present receive the promise,) in order that they, apart from us, should not be perfected.” This is indeed a bold proposal. To insert the demonstrative pronoun “that,” and then explain it, as though it were a part of the passage, inserting the explanation also, as a mere supplying of an ellipsis, is to use a liberty with God's word by which it might be made to say anything. In this instance it is used to make the passage say the very opposite of what is said by the words actually found in the Greek. But let us hear what is said in favor of the change.
“The substantive instruction of the passage is contained in the first and last clauses they received not the promise, in order that they might not be perfected apart from us. (χωρὶς ἡμπῶν.) The central parenthetic clause does not teach that God had provided something better for us than for them (that would contradict the word χωρὶς, apart from); but it teaches that he had provided for us a better thing than to allow that they should be perfected apart from us. The word χωρὶς (apart from) could not on the other supposition, have been used; for if we had the calling and glory of the Church, and they not, then, indeed, they and we should be perfected apart one from the other, the very thing which this verse declares to be impossible.” On all this we remark: 1. that to read the central clause parenthetically is a purely gratuitous change, uncalled for by anything in the passage, which makes good sense just as the translators have left it. 2. To read it parenthetically creates the ellipsis which the writer supplies, and which exists not as the passage stands. 3. The construction of the passage is against the reading the central clause as a parenthesis. The words περὶ ἡμπῶν and χωρὶς ἡμῶν so connect the two phrases, ( “a better thing for us,” “that they without us,”) as to make the latter dependent on the former. But if so, how could the former be part of a parenthesis? 4. So far is χωρὶς from excluding the idea of their perfection (that of Old Testament saints) being different from ours, that it is used in passages where similar differences are undeniably recognized. “Without (χωρὶς) me, ye can do nothing.” Does the word here exclude all difference of dignity or glory or power between Christ and His disciples? “The man is not without (χωρὶς) the woman in the Lord.” Does this mean that they are in all respects equal? Why, the whole drift of the passage is in proof of the man's superiority. That is, the word is used in scripture in a sense quite different from that which this writer wishes to fix upon it absolutely in the passage under consideration.
As to the passage itself, and its bearing on the question in debate, so far from its being “the text most relied on to prove that the Old Testament saints are” not included in the glorified Church, we know of no work in which it is so urged. There may be such works, but they have not fallen under our notice. We ourselves have long hesitated as to whether by “the better thing provided for us,” was meant our present dispensational privileges, or some special place of future glory, and have never therefore relied on the passage as a proof of the latter. But the present discussion inclines us, more than previously, to the latter view. The distinction made but a few verses farther on between “the spirits of just men made perfect,” and “the Church of the first-born ones which are written in heaven,” certainly seems to teach that the class denominated “spirits of just men,” will, when made perfect, which is only in resurrection, be still distinct from “the church of the first-born ones written in heaven.”
The January article closes with a series of numbered paragraphs, which, after all that has been considered, may be very briefly dispatched.
“Does the Church not mean the whole body of the redeemed?” The answer is, this is precisely the question at issue, to which these articles give an affirmative, and we a negative reply. Neither therefore can assume their own view, and reason from it, as the writer here does.
If the redeemed all form Christ's body, then all of them of the Old Testament, even as of the New, shall rise to the same glory.” Yes, but first prove that “Christ's body” and “the redeemed” are interchangeable terms. Christ is never spoken of as head of the body except as risen and ascended. If He is, let the passages be brought forward. To produce Isa. 26:19, and thus represent Christ as the head of a “dead body” (!) is the plainest possible confession that no texts more to the purpose could be found by the writer, in the Old Testament.
3. “The Queen in gold of Ophir” is represented by the writer of Psa. 45 as the bride of “the king.” The psalm consists of things he had made “touching the King.” No doubt there are principles in common between such scriptures as the Song of Solomon and this psalm, and those in the New Testament which treat of the Church's bridal relation to Christ. Much found in the one may thus, for uses of edification, be applied to the subject of the other. But, still, the subject is distinct. Jerusalem is the King's bride. It is of her that Ezek. 16, Isa. 54, and Hos. 2 treat. It is to her people that it is said, “Thy maker is thine husband;” of her land that it is written, “thy land shall be married;” and of herself; “as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” But the Church is “the bride, the Lamb's wife.” Betrothed and affianced to Him, during His rejection by Israel and the earth—the lone companion of that rejection, and inheritor of the griefs of which, as the Father's faithful witness and servant, He drank so full a cup—it is in that character of heavenly grace in which alone she has known and confessed her unseen and absent Lord, that she is to be associated with Him in the glory, in that day when the glory shall be revealed.
The remarks on the transfiguration take for granted that to be glorified with Christ is equivalent to being “of the church, or bride.” But there is nothing said either of the body or bride of Christ in the scripture accounts of the transfiguration. It was “the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” of which the favored three beheld a specimen in the holy mount; and we know of none who question that Old Testament saints will, equally with those who compose the Church, be raised and glorified at Christ's coming.
The reasoning on the types needs no comment, as there is not even the pretense of giving scripture authority for the application of them made by the writer. Many seriously dispute that the cherubim were types of the Church.
6. The psalms are referred to in proof that Old Testament saints are to rise in the first resurrection, and to reign as kings in the millennial age. Neither of these positions should we for a moment think of disputing. But when it is said that “the general import and drift of such passages evidently is, that these saints were led by the Holy Spirit to look for the same honor as we of the New Testament Church are led to expect,” it does but mournfully evince how this system of interpretation reduces what it calls “the New Testament Church” to the standard of Old Testament truths.
We turn now for a moment to the second paper that we may not omit noticing anything it contains. Its leading arguments have been already considered in their connection with, or contradiction to, the previous article. It opens by denouncing the doctrine which distinguishes between the Church and the Old Testament saints, as “strange,” “novel,” “disastrous in its consequences,” and “necessarily affecting that which the scripture reveals respecting the redemption that is in Christ.” These are heavy charges, indeed so heavy that they ought not to be made unless supported by the most substantial proofs. What then are the proofs by which such charges are supported in the present instance? The only proof alleged is a most glaring misrepresentation of what the question at issue is; and the only evidence brought forward in support of the charge is a quotation which completely repels it. But our readers shall judge for themselves. The question is stated in the following terms: -
“Surely there can be no more important question than this—what is it that gives title of entrance into the Church and all the Church's blessings? Is it not simply and only the redemption that is in the blood of Jesus?” Undoubtedly it is; and woe to the man whose hopes are based on any other foundation. But is it on the question of the Church's title to glory that this writer is at issue with those whom he opposes? God forbid! They acknowledge, at least equally with him, that redemption in the blood of Christ is the only ground on which any of Adam's race can be entitled to a place in glory. But it is a pure fallacy of this writer to suppose, because the title is the same, that there can be no diversities of glory among those who all, and all alike, owe their blessedness to the blood of Christ, and to that blood alone. Has God ceased to be a sovereign because in His grace He has given Christ to accomplish redemption by His blood? Is the Holy One so limited by His own purely gratuitous provision for man's recovery, as to be precluded by it from bestowing various dignities on those whose only title to anything but perdition is the precious blood of Christ, and the grace which places its value to their account? Let this writer account for the immeasurable difference between the glorified saints and the saved inhabitants of the millennial earth throughout the thousand years; let him show how this diversity can consist with the blessedness of both being based solely on the value of Christ's blood; and let his explanation be what it may, it will serve equally to show how any distinction that God may please to make between one portion of the redeemed and another, throughout eternal ages, is consistent with the same blessed fact.
Besides, what becomes of the millennial saints They either form part of the Church or they do not. If they do, then all the arguments about the Old Testament saints having part in the first resurrection, and reigning with Christ go for nothing; for here are myriads of the Church who evidently do not share in either. If they do not form part of the Church, then all the reasoning about redemption is null; for here are saints redeemed by Christ's blood, who instead of constituting the Church, are living on the earth, while the Church reigns in glory with her Lord.
But the article under review asserts dogmatically that “the heavenly city is a symbol of corporate condition. It represents the glory of the Church as a whole.” “As a whole,” let it be remembered: and so positive is the writer on this point, that he adds, “Not to belong to it is spoken of as equivalent to perdition.” Now when is it, we ask, that the Church answers to this symbol of its glory “as a whole?” Is it only in the post-millennial, eternal state? Or does not the detailed description of it, as shown to John by the angel, exhibit it in connection with the millennial earth? Are not the leaves of its tree of life for the healing of the nations? And do not the nations [of the saved] walk in the light of the heavenly city. Still “it represents,” says this writer, “the glory of the Church as a whole.” Clearly, then, the saved nations of the millennial earth do not form part of the Church: and the conclusion drawn by others as to Old Testament saints, and condemned by him as affecting fundamental truth, follows necessarily, as to millennial saints, from what he himself affirms.
If it should be pleaded that they belong to the Church prospectively, that though not forming part of the city—the Bride—during the thousand years, they are afterward to be incorporated with it, we answer, that such a plea can never be admitted. First, because it contradicts the writer's own assertion that “the heavenly city represents the glory of the Church as a whole.” Secondly, because it contradicts scripture. Is it not at the beginning of the thousand years that it is said, “the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready?” But how “ready,” if myriads who are to form part of her are yet unborn? And when our Lord says, not of His disciples only who surrounded Him, but of all who should believe on Him through their word, “the glory which thou gavest me I have given them: that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them and thou in me, that they be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me,” to what epoch does He look forward for the accomplishment of these things? Are they accomplished in the millennial period, when the millennial world beholds in the heavenly city the proof that the Father has loved the saints composing it as He loved His Son if so, the nations of that period are not part of the Church, for it is already “made perfect in one;” and the nations are spoken of as “the world,” distinct and apart from the heavenly saints. And if it be said, in accordance with the objection we are examining, that not till the end of the thousand years will the words of our Lord be accomplished, that the millennial saints are included among those to whom He gives the glory which has been given to Him, and who are finally to be made perfect in one, where in that case is “the world of which our Lord speaks, as knowing by the glory of the Church how the Father has sent the Son and loved the Church as He loved the Son? No “such world” will exist in the eternal state, at least according to the system we are considering: and if its existence could be supposed, it would subvert the system altogether. It is, in fact, untenable. It contradicts itself, and contradicts God's word; and the writer of this second article argues as though he would conceal its inherent weakness by the severity with which he censures the views with which his own system stands contrasted.
Having misstated the point in debate, by representing it as a question between him and others as to the title of entrance into the Church, he proceeds to charge his opponents with excluding Old Testament saints from “the great result of redemption altogether," and asks, “And what is the ground of this supposed exclusion? Abraham and the Old Testament saints, say they, are to be excluded, because they did not receive, whilst on earth, the Holy Spirit in the same manner as we have received it who have lived since Pentecost. Such is the doctrine of the appended passage. (A passage extracted from “Plain Papers,” &c.) Thus it is taught that our title to belong to the Church of God in glory does not depend on that which we are in Christ, but on that which we are in the Spirit.” Would the reader credit it, that the extract from “Plain Papers” which is thus stigmatized, is one in which the following sentences occur? After mentioning Abraham, Moses, and others, as men of faith and referring to the brightness of their devotion and obedience, it affirms, “They were quickened by the Spirit beyond all doubt. By virtue of the foreseen sacrifice of Christ, they were forgiven and saved. They will all have part in the first resurrection and partake of heavenly glory. There can be no question as to any of these things...... The church shares these things, life, justification, resurrection, and heavenly glory, with the saints of Old Testament times; but what constitutes the Church is something distinct from and beyond all these things. It is the actual living unity with Christ and with each other of those who, since Christ's resurrection, are formed into this unity by the Holy Ghost come down from heaven. Was there anything like this in Old Testament times?” (Plain Papers, p. 83.) Can the reader see in this extract any justification of the charges above quoted from the “Quarterly Journal?” Will the writer in the “Quarterly Journal” himself affirm that anything like what is here described existed in Old Testament times? Will he deny that it is this which “constitutes” the Church? Cannot he distinguish between what constitutes a body, and that which entitles anyone to belong to it? Might not the same title, the will of a monarch, for instance, introduce a person both to the family of that monarch and to his cabinet council? But are both constituted alike? Because it was the will of Her Majesty which alone entitled a person to be her secretary of state, must he needs be her consort also? And if this writer in the “Quarterly Journal” has in his haste overlooked so obvious and important a distinction, ought he to make his own carelessness the ground of impugning the orthodoxy of a writer, who, in the very extract produced, (the only one, moreover, that is produced,) repudiates the charge now sought to be fastened upon him? “The sacrifice of Christ” is the alone title mentioned or recognized in the extract, and it is alike recognized for the Church and for the Old Testament saints.
Again, to confound, as the writer does, Christ's headship of “his body the Church” with that federal headship of all the redeemed, in regard to which the first Adam, our sinful federal head, was a “figure of him that was to come,” is merely to evince total unacquaintance with what scripture teaches on the former subject. Are we members of Adam's body of his flesh, and of his bones, or merely his offspring? Eve was bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh. The Church is such to Christ, and not merely possessed of a life derived from Him, as is the case with all the redeemed people of the second Adam, the Lord from heaven.
The argument from Galatians is based on a mere assumption: viz., that in it “we who live in. this Pentecostal dispensation, are taught respecting our own final blessings.” This language is evidently used to express our own highest as well as final blessings. But where does the Epistle itself inform us that it is of our highest blessings that it treats? Many of those blessings of which it does treat we doubtless share with saints of other dispensations. But our being, in so many respects, “blessed with faithful Abraham,” by no means proves that nothing special attaches to saints of the present dispensation. As to the editorial note on this paragraph, (asserting that the question discussed by the apostle was, “Are believers in Christ really to get up to Abraham's privileges and standing?”) we would ask, Does the editor forget the occasion of the Epistle? Were not certain teachers pretending that it was not enough to believe in Christ, but that to enjoy the benefits of the Abrahamic covenant the Gentile converts must become Jewish proselytes, be circumcised, and keep the law of Moses? To be children of Abraham had been held out to the Galatians by their deceivers as something most desirable, and as only to be attained by obedience to the law. “You are children of Abraham already,” was the apostle's answer: nay, more, “children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” A most pertinent, blessed answer to the sophistry of those who would have subverted their souls. But certainly it is not in connection with such reasonings that we should look for a development of the highest privileges of the saints. Being Christ's we are Abraham's seed, because He is “the seed” to whom the promises were made. But has Christ no higher title than that of “the seed of Abraham?” Why say then that He has no greater or higher blessedness in which to associate us with Himself than that of being Abraham's seed.
It is of the believers at Colosse, and of their fellow believers in the present dispensation, that Paul predicates the being “circumcised in Christ.” So that whatever this expression may imply, its use by the apostles in the passage referred to can prove nothing as to Old Testament saints.
No doubt we are taught in Heb. 7 that Abraham had “THE PROMISES.” But this is an unfortunate quotation, to prove that no expression could “be more unlimited than that;” seeing that the whole drift of the passage is to show that even Melchizedec, another Old Testament saint, was greater than Abraham.
No one questions that Abraham looked for a heavenly city; but when the writer says, “that heavenly city is elsewhere termed the bride, the Lamb's wife,'“ we must be excused for asking some proof of his assertion. If heaven itself, as the object of Abraham's hope, is mentioned in Scripture under the figure of “a city,” as well as “a country,” are we obliged to identify, it with “that great city, the holy Jerusalem,” which was shown to John “descending out of heaven from God!” Why should we conclude, if a city be named, that it must be the one city of Rev. 21; 22? Or if a marriage, or bride, be spoken of, why must it of necessity be “the marriage of the Lamb,” “the bride, the Lamb's wife?”
Against one misapprehension we must, in concluding, guard. We would not be supposed to confound individual faithfulness with corporate privileges. Many a saint in olden times, with immeasurably inferior light and privileges, walked more closely with God than many, perhaps we might say most, of those to whom the special calling and glory of the Church have been vouchsafed. The righteous Judge of all will surely know how to reward the individual, while His own rich sovereign grace is equally magnified in the blessings common to all, the blessings distinctive of each class, and the new name in the white stone for the individual, secret token as it will be of what is known only to the individual and his Lord.
The Lord keep us near to Himself, and subject in everything to His word.

The Coming of the Lord and the Translation of the Church

(An Attempt to answer the questions, “May the Coming of the Lord be expected immediately? and will the translation of the Church be secret?” By George J. Walker. London: Whittaker & Co, 12. Ave Maria Lane. 1857.
No. 1.6. Vol. I.-Sept 1, 1857.)
DIRECT testimony to the existence of a Jewish remnant with Jewish hopes, sanctioned of the Lord, having been published elsewhere, and the doctrine of the Church also having been brought out, as connected with the Lord's coming, the object here is to examine, in a supplementary notice, some difficulties which a serious mind might find in the suggestions of those who oppose the rapture of the Church. It is true that if the statements of scripture be adequately weighed, and the truths which have been drawn from it received into the heart, the answer to all these difficulties is already possessed; or if we be unable to explain these objections, they have no force against the direct proofs scripture gives of the truth, save to prove our own incapacity to solve them.
Thus, it is insisted on, in the pamphlet before us, pp. 13, 14, that we wait with the world for the appearing of Christ. “In 1 Thess. 5:1-4, after speaking of the day of the Lord coming on toe world as a thief in the night, the apostle adds, 'But ye, brethren, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief.' The natural inference being, that the day of the Lord will come simultaneously upon the world and the Church; only it will find the latter prepared for it, while it will be destruction to the former.” Now, take the plain expression of one passage, which sums up the declarations of many, “when Christ, who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” It at once shows that, whatever may be the divine reasons for referring us to the Lord's appearing, as a time of blessing, or in connection with our responsibility (and scripture does both), it is perfectly certain that it is not meant that we shall not be with Christ before He appears, nor that we shall be personally on earth as others are, so that He will appear to us and the earth at the same time. This we know to be false doctrine; because the word tells us that we shall then appear, or be manifested, along with Him, But we learn more as to the teaching of those who would persuade us of it. The aim of that teaching, its direct and necessary tendency, is to destroy our distinctive relationship with Christ, and to connect us with the world, reducing us to the lowest possible level of hope which can be true for one who is not actually lost. Our proper heavenly connection with Christ is lost. This aim is accompanied by so obvious a loss of all spiritual intelligence, such an obliteration of the positive teaching of Christ and the Holy Ghost, that it becomes at once evident, to those not under its influence, what its source is.
Nor can anything he more groundless than the special objections. The first is a very favorite one of this school.” It [i.e. the view combated] takes away from us our direct and full interest in considerable portions of the gospels, and almost the whole of the Apocalypse; for these are regarded as strictly and properly belonging only to certain parties, Jews and Gentiles, which will come under the divine dealings after the removal of the Church,” &c. (pp. 5, 6). To talk, then, of robbing us of much in the Gospels and the Apocalypse is, we repeat, the more absurd, since the special privilege of the heavenly saints is to know what does not concern them. In virtue of this, they are “friends,” not because of having external signs given. To encourage the weak faith of the tried Jewish remnant they were really given, as will appear more clearly when we come to examine Matt. 24 and kindred scriptures.
But it is a hollow and false principle that the gift of a revelation to any one implies that he will be in the circumstances described: least of all is it true of the Church, to which all scripture is given. But thence to argue that we must be there, that this or that prediction is about us, is as unreasonable as contrary to fact. Yet ought the Church to have an understanding of all, for “we have the mind of Christ.” The Lord's grace communicates to us what concerns others, and sometimes that we may intercede for others. Thus it was with Abraham: the Lord revealed to him what did not concern himself. Did Abraham lose by the Lord's communicating to him what concerned Lot' or would he have gained by imagining that it was about himself? Was Enoch worse off than Noah because the one declared what was coming on the world, not on himself, and was translated before there was a sign of the judgment, while the other received a warning of what concerned the circumstances he was in, so that, moved with fear, he gave heed and was saved through the deluge of waters? So with the Church in the Revelation. None can deny that there is absolute silence as to the Church (we do not say saints) on earth when the terrible judgments symbolized by seals, trumpets, and vials, issue from the throne. Churches are spoken of before Rev. 4, and they are addressed after the visions close in Rev. 22. For, no doubt, the Church ought to be the vessel of divine testimony of what is coming, as Enoch was, and it ought to be in the place of intercession, as was Abraham; but the Church is outside the scene of judgment in the Revelation, as both these types were in Genesis.
But the second objection surrenders, in fact, the principles of which the first complains so loudly: for it is owned, though it seems reluctantly, that there are passages in the gospels (and a fortiori in the Revelation) where the apostles are not our representatives. Thus, while we are privileged to profit by Matt. 10, it is plain that the commission there given is, in important respects, the reverse of our service as Christians now. It is only through the Holy Ghost, enabling us to compare aright scripture with scripture, that we can discern what concerns a Jewish remnant of old or by and by, and that which describes or supposes our position. The author asks somewhat triumphantly in p. 7, “Do they represent us, and listen for us, at the sermon on the Mount, at the last supper, at the concluding discourses in John; and yet represent another set of people in the 24th of Matthew and 21st of Luke? Are we on church ground with Martha and Mary at Bethany; and in company with the Jewish remnant when we place ourselves with the disciples on the Mount of Olives?” (Matt. 24:3.) Now, so far are the distinctions in question of an arbitrary nature that the argument used to expose them demonstrates their reality. For, imbedded in the sermon, on the Mount are words of our Lord which apply far more closely to Jews or the remnant, than to the Church. (See Matt. 5:25; 6:12, 13, 33, &c.) And as to the prophetic discourse in Matt. 24, 25 it carries on its front, and within its own compass, the clearest evidence of these distinctions. For in the early part the Lord speaks of the temple and its destruction, of the abomination of desolation, with express reference to a prophecy which professedly relates to the Jews and the remnant up to the last days. But this is not all. What has this character, and is connected with Jerusalem, Judea, and that nation, is plainly distinguished from the parables which relate to Christians during the absence of the Lord (viz., the household servant, the virgins, and the talents). These last are not Jewish, but in some respects in marked contrast with what precedes, as well as with the closing sketch in Matt. 25 which gives the Lord's dealings with the Gentiles on His return as King. To deny these distinctions, then, is ignorance, and nothing better. Nobody affirms that the Church existed as a fact at the last supper in Jerusalem, or when the Lord uttered His discourses, &c., in John 13-17, or at Bethany; but it is to us very clear that these scenes contemplated much which was afterward verified in the Church, and outside the remnant, while the remnant had special provision for it made in Luke 21. Nothing simpler than what the writer seeks to mystify.
Again, in this latest defense of the system which denies the distinct portion of the Church and its rapture, previous to the Lord's appearing, the time of vengeance, in which even the Jewish remnant is desired to flee—the time of visiting the unbelief of the nation with anguish and trouble unheard of—in a word, the most awful chastisement for unfaithfulness the world ever saw, is confounded with the privilege of suffering for Christ by faith “A further objection to it is the extraordinary result, that the Church will be removed from the earth at the very time of all others, when we should think its testimony would be most needed, and when suffering will be most glorious. [M] Surely, of all others, the Church of Christ is best fitted to be confronted with the great Antichrist and his followers.. Strange, indeed, should its martyrology break off at that critical period! Strange if tribulations, closely linked in the Apocalyptic visions with the brightest glories of heaven, shall be reserved for another than that body, which for nearly two thousand years has been associated in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ!— “Attempt,” p. 7. Can ignorance of God's ways be shown more painfully than this confusion of suffering with Christ, and suffering fearful penalty for having slighted Him and His will?
The last of these general presumptions is that scripture intimates delays and impediments to the coming of Christ (pp. 7, 8); and it is argued, that if to know what shall befall others be a privilege, still more what personally affects ourselves. Can anything exceed the blindness here manifested as to what spiritual privilege is? Is knowing what applies to ourselves the proof that we are friends of God? After Abraham had promises relative to himself and his seed, the Lord says, “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” And what did He make known to him? What concerned himself? No; but what concerned Lot, which there was no need of. Lot heard in due time what concerned himself. So, says the Lord, in a scripture which the writer cites in the same paragraph, “I have called you friends, for whatsoever I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you.” I tell a man what concerns himself as a matter of business or duty; I tell my friend what my heart is interested in, whether it concerns him or not, because he is my friend. (Compare Eph. 1:8-10.) How entirely this system destroys spirituality and divine intelligence!
And here we would say a word on the practical effect as indicative of the real character of these views. We are told that it is impossible rightly to be expecting the Lord from day to day; and this because all the predicted signs must first come to pass. Now, we ask any serious Christian, if this be not in direct contradiction of all the teachings and warnings of scripture (those passages excepted, whose proper application is in debate)? Does the Lord direct us to be habitually waiting and watching always for Him? Be it Christian or Jewish remnant that He refers to, does He not insist earnestly upon it, and that in such an hour as those He addresses think not, the Son of man cometh?
Further, the whole order of God's dealings is subverted. “We do believe the Church and the remnant to be on earth together,” &c. (p.39.) That is, they believe that the full, explicit revelation of the Church, wherein is neither Jew nor Gentile but all one, and a recognition, on the part of God, of a body of persons, as to whom He sanctions hopes exactly contrary to this, furnishing inspired terms for the expression and encouragement of them, will go on together on the earth. As an analogy to this, the state of the disciples, during Jesus' life, and the condition of the Church afterward, and the case of the disciples of John (Acts 19), are brought forward. That is, the progress of the same saints out of Jewish thoughts into a Church standing, by the coming of the Holy Ghost, in the former case, and the instant cessation of the Jewish state of hope, because of the Christian revelation, when it came to their knowledge, in the other, are alleged to be analogous to the simultaneous sanctioned subsistence of the two contradictory states at the same time. The value of the reasoning here is a specimen of the superficiality of this publication.
Another sample of the extreme levity and carelessness of the writer is this. “To say that while we are here, it [the Apocalypse] is of use to us, is to plead for a very secondary concern in it.” (p. 6.) The view of the writer is that its warnings are to be of use to the Church when it is in the circumstances referred to. Is it not evident, then, according to the author's theory, that this destroys its usefulness, as to at least 1800 years and more, of the. Church's history? The necessity of being in the time of its fulfillment to make it useful destroys its constant use for the Church; whereas the knowledge of its application to a body traversing the time of trial, after the Church's rapture, makes its usefulness apply to all, though its accomplishment is for others. If men must be in the circumstances to render it useful, the Apocalypse has had, on the author's showing, no utility yet. 2 Peter 1:19, which he quotes, is strongly against his arguments, besides being altogether misinterpreted. The point here is the excellence of the prophetic word as a lamp, till a light still better dawn on the heart. The apostle does not mean till the day of the Lord actually come upon the world, but till the heart is imbued with daylight, and the morning star arise therein (i.e., till the saint is awakened to the heavenly hope, apart from the events of prophecy).
The parable of the tares of the field (Matt. 13) is the first of the special scriptures adduced as positively adverse. “'Both grow together until the harvest' (verse 30)-a statement clearly decisive of the whole question, for unbroken certainty cannot possibly be more plainly expressed” (p. 9),..."and at one definite point of time, the harvest, or the end of the age,” (p. 10.) The short answer is, that the harvest is not one definite point of time. “In the time of harvest,” it is written, “I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” First do this, and then that. In other words, it is a period in which different events take place, the order and meaning of which is exactly what is in question, It is also alleged (p. 9) that “gathered together” is the same as “rooted up.” But it is no such thing: quite a different word is used for rooted up. Again, “gathering together,” or up, is said to be removal from the field by reaping or plucking up, that is the end of present existence—a very singular explanation. We all know such is not the effect of reaping. The removal of the wheat from the field is expressed in quite a different way. Indeed, the tares are never said to be removed from the field at all, and notoriously, if we turn to the thing prefigured, they will be judged in the field when the harvest comes; and to this the parable looks on. In truth, the subject is the field as to which there is one only exception— “Gather the wheat into my garner.” The thorns, we read elsewhere, will be utterly burned in the fire in the same place. The tares are gathered together to be burned—clearly declaring that the gathering together is not the final judgment.
Further, none can read the parable and its explanation without seeing that they describe different scenes, as is always the case in such prophetic statements, because public results before men explain what is parabolically stated when the results are not there. Thus, gathering the wheat into the garner is not shining forth as the sun, nor is gathering into bundles to be burnt the same as gathering out of the kingdom and casting them into the fire. Note here, that the uniform testimony of scripture is that the saints will appear, or be manifested, when Christ comes for judgment. (Col. 3; Rev. 17:14; 19) Hence the gathering the wheat into the garner must be before the gathering evils out of His kingdom and casting them into the furnace of fire. The making the heavenly saints to remain on earth, while the judgment is being executed, is against the universal statement of all scripture. And this is what is alleged. For if the gathering the tares in bundles to be burned be the same as their final burning (an allegation indeed manifestly absurd), then their complete judgment takes place before the saints are taken into the garner; “the end of present existence” as regards the tares is before the saints are with Christ. Further, the righteous shining forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father is clearly not in the present age, which the harvest of judgment closes. It is the new age, while the gathering into the garner is part of the harvest or end of this age. The harvest then, or end of the age, is certainly not one point of time. The Lord Himself states a “first” in what happens. The only question, then, is, Does the rapture of the saints take place before the execution of judgment? All scripture answers, yes. They come with Christ to judgment: they appear with Him in glory. The order of the parable and its explanation is, first, gathering the tares in bundles, then the wheat is put in the barn; and when it comes to the execution of judgment, the tares are gathered out of the kingdom and burnt, and the righteous shine forth as the sun.
One point of the old system is avoided. It used to be maintained that, when Christ rose up from the Father's throne, the present age closed. But the parable of the tares described the end of this age. Hence the judgment of the earth was before Christ came at all, and the catching up of the saints too. The absurdity of this was evident, and it is now avoided; but the elements of the error remain—only concealed. The harvest is made one definite point of time as the end of the age. If it be not Christ's rising up, it must be the moment of His executing judgment which closes it. Where are the heavenly saints then according to scripture? The wicked are punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord. When this judgment is executed, are the saints still unchanged on the earth, or already caught up? If still unchanged on the earth, and the resurrection yet to come, then is there a negative to all these statements together— “The Lord shall come with ten thousand of his saints;” “The Lord thy God shall come and all his saints with thee;” “They that are with him are called and chosen and faithful;” “The armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean;” “When Christ, our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” But scripture declares these things positively. That is, the saints must have already been caught up to meet Him. But if so, the whole proffered explanation of the parable of the tares is false, and hangs on the blunder of interpreting the gathering of the tares together in bundles to be burned as meaning their actual burning, accompanied by the contradictory allegation that the harvest is one definite point of time. That any one should not see clear on such points is evidently to be borne with. We are all ignorant on many points.
On 2 Thess. 2. the less may be said, because it has been already entered into in a previous article. (Bible Treasury, pp. 237-239.) But it is well to note it as an additional specimen of this writer's reasoning. He says in p. 15, “Surely the terrors of the day of the Lord are for his enemies and the enemies of his people. How then could those terrors be present, and those enemies be unchecked in their cruel persecution of the Thessalonian saints? Could these saints have had such a notion?” Now the reasoning against the fact of the day's being there is most just. The only misfortune is that it is the apostle's own reasoning with the Thessalonians, because they thought the day was there, as Paul says in chap. 2:2, and as the writer quotes Mr. Alford, explaining it in the same page. “Its object is to make it clear to them that the day of Christ.... was not yet come.”
As to what is insinuated on Dan. 7, and the endeavor to connect the Son of man with the kingdom after the blasphemies of the little horn, the way of putting the matter is incorrect, and, to say the least, the one-sided result of prejudice. For the account of the reception of the kingdom is not merely after the horn's blasphemies, but after the beast's judgment and destruction for those blasphemies. So that, if it were just to apply the passage to the remaining of the Church on earth during the whole career of Antichrist, the passage would equally prove that the Church was on earth after the destruction of the beast. That is, the whole argument and application of the text is entirely groundless, for the heavenly saints come with Christ to judgment. The prophecy speaks of the earthly kingdom, first of the beasts, and then of the Son of man. The place or portion of the Church is not touched on at all in the statement. It is the kingdom under the whole heaven; while the following explanation of the prophecy (as all scripture) declares, that judgment is given to the saints of the Most High. It is but an additional proof how the whole tenor and bearing of scripture is lost by such as maintain this system. If we enter into details, we shall find that the thrones were set before the judgment begins and indeed in order to it.
As to the argument on Luke 19:11-27 in p. 11, (viz., that we are not to look for the Lord as our immediate hope now, because there was a premature expectation of the kingdom during His ministry on earth), it has really no force, nor even sense. Some then expected Messiah to appear in glory and deliver Israel. The Lord shows that, being rejected, He must go to the Father, receive a kingdom and return, and that meanwhile His own servants were to serve Him. Does that prove that His servants are not to expect Him now more than the Jews then? Strange reasoning!
Passages, such as John 16:2-4, which speak of trials and persecutions for the saints, need not be rested on. It was not the best but one of the strongest reasons for looking for Christ continually, who was to take the saints out of trouble. The sufferings of the disciples would make them desire His coming.
If we turn to the epistles, another class of texts to which reference is made (p. 12) is that which involves responsibility in connection with Christ's appearing. In order to understand such passages as 1 Tim. 6:14 some remarks are needed. The rapture of the Church has nothing to do with responsibility; it is the fulfillment of the highest blessings of sovereign grace—Christ's coming to take us to Himself, that where He is, there we may be also. Now, none but Paul ever speaks of the Church, save the Lord Himself, prophetically (Matt. 16; 18), or the historical facts that He added to it, &c., in the Acts. It was a mystery hidden in God; it is not named in the Epistles but by Paul—for we do not speak of allusions to a local church or churches. Various privileges of its members individually may be, but, however strange it may appear to some, in the Epistles none ever speaks of the Church itself, nor names it, but Paul. Hence none speaks of the rapture but he; for this is connected with its known privileges. Where the coming of Christ is spoken of elsewhere, it is spoken of as the time of judgment; or of the display of the effect of righteousness and of glory in the saints; or as a general expectation connected with the ways and government of God—a very distinct thing from the privileges conferred by sovereign grace. The judgment connected with Christ's coming includes the judgment of, and retribution to, the saints, because this is a part of His display of government, and not the portion of the saints, given them in sovereign grace in Christ. By the deniers of what is called the “rapture,” all this is mixed up together, for the counter-scheme is one of unmingled darkness.
Now, as regards the world, this manifestation for judgment is Christ's coming. The term coming, or presence, embraces all that passes in connection with His return, from the moment of His entrance into the created universe, be it heaven or earth. As regards the world, His coming may be called His appearing, His manifestation, the appearing of His coming, or, His Revelation. It has all these titles. The saints' joining Christ is never referred to anything but His coming; for when He appears, they appear with Him. Do they not wait for and love His appearing? To be sure they do. This removes evil and destroys the power of evil on the earth; in this they appear with Him in glory. The whole display of God's glory in righteousness and its fruit, blessing and power, takes place then; and those who groan under the sense of a creation subjected to the bandage of corruption, rejoice in the thought of its deliverance. The entire scene will be changed by Christ's taking the power, Satan being bound, and the rule of goodness and righteousness established. The saint cannot but delight in the thought of the setting up of the kingdom, the glory of Christ, and the blessing of man and creation. That everything should be ordered according to Christ's will is the joy of the heart. It is the time of the divine blessing in government. Oppression will cease, peace and true liberty will reign without evil, all God's promises be fulfilled, His goodness satisfied, and Christ glorified. As regards the government of this earth, it is what our hearts as we walk on it, and what we in our nature as creatures belonging to it, must desire. We love His appearing—the rising of that Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings. That we shall not be those subject to this government, to the rightly-taught soul, enhances the joy of it, though, on the principle of wretched selfishness which characterizes the system we are combating, this may seem to enfeeble its interest for us. On any ground, we shall not be the subjects of that government, because we shall be glorified. But which is most blessed—the family in misery which is relieved, or he who has a share in relieving, and participates in grace in the joy of it? No properly ordered heart cart doubt a moment. All love His appearing, for Christ will have His rights, and the dreary scene through which we pass will (blessed be God) brighten up under the rays of the Sun of Righteousness, as a morning without clouds, as the clear shinning after rain.
As to our own portion, indeed, the appearing of Christ is the time of our being manifested in glory with Himself. But, doubtless, the loving His appearing looks to more than this. It is the substitution of the blessed reign of Christ for the power and dominion of Satan in a world which is God's, but now oppressed—the taking of His just place in the universe by Christ Himself. But the being caught up to meet the Lord in the air is for our own proper and higher blessing: it is in order to be forever with the Lord. There the apostles closes all he has to say to it. But in all that respects the government of God, the appearing or the manifestation of Jesus in this creation is the thing referred to. Hence our loving His appearing is a test whether we delight in His authority and the divine blessing, or whether we find our pleasure where Satan is prince. Hence also, when our responsibility is in question, as this relates to government and reward, the appearing is always referred to. Christ will take account with His servants, as well as with the world. But the difference is in every way evident. We all go up together: there is no distinction. The life and righteousness of an apostle are the same as mine. We shall all be conformed to the image of God's Son, that He may be the firstborn among many brethren. But the Thessalonians will be Paul's crown, not ours; and every man will receive his own reward, according to his own labor. Every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it.
Other objections are founded on the declaration that Peter would die (John 21; 18:19:2 Peter 1:14-16;) Paul's expecting his own death, and predicting evils that should arise, and especially in the last days. One thing is clear about Peter's death—it can have no possible force now. But this remark has not all its force, if we do not perceive that it required a particular revelation that a person was to die: otherwise it was said, “we which are alive and remain,” and that by the apostle confuting this thought when it was in question; but of this anon. So the word “if I will that he tarry till I come” was interpreted. It required a particular revelation to point out a particular event as intervening, and when that has intervened, the general truth flows on in all its force; that is to say, the rightness of the general expectation is largely confirmed by a person's death before Christ's coming requiring a revelation to have it supposed possible. It was an event, too, which might have happened at any time after the Church's expectation had in fact been fully brought to light. The only word at all applicable to delay even then is, “when thou art old;” it is in comparison with, “when thou wast young,” —a proof he was no longer so—sufficiently vague to leave all open. But further, the Church, probably, was very little or not at all cognizant of it. When Peter was in prison (Acts 12), they thought his death might well happen then. When Peter refers to it, he does so as imminent. As to the expression “after my decease,” the expectation of the Lord's coming never enfeebled the most assiduous care of the Church, while waiting for Him, but just the contrary. Nor certainly can the case apply now. Again, what is more material to remark, it was never given AS a sign to the Church, but as a testimony to one individual. There is no proof that the Church had the least knowledge of it before it was past. It certainly was not addressed to the Church by the Holy Ghost before, for John's gospel was given after Peter's death—and this is the grand point.
As to the predictions of the last times, the case is even stronger; for the Holy Ghost has declared by John that they were come. That is, the expectation of Christ was constant then. The word of God gives us, in its own contents, the ground for constant expectation now, for it declares the last (hour or time) come before John was gone. At first, the expectation was constant; next, as time went on, and in fact faith and hope fuller, particular events were noticed as immediately imminent. Paul says (in Phil. 2) that he was a victim on whom aspersion had been made already—would that be a ground for delaying hope or awakening it? Peter announces that his decease was just at hand, John that the last time was already there; and these are alleged as reasons why we should not expect Christ! None of the cases was ever given to the Church in any sense as signs. Before the announcement was given to the Church by John that Christ had said it to Peter, Peter was long dead and gone. No: they were no signs, and have no application at all now; and what came on to be revealed as a necessity for the Church, for its seeing the evil of the last days, the Holy Ghost has taken care to tell us is arrived.
How wise are the ways of God! He establishes, as a doctrine, the expectation. Particular revelations are given to individuals, and they speak of them only when they are close at hand, God knowing well that there would be this delay. When the Church needs it, He warns them of evil and dangerous days, but takes care, before His instruction closes, to keep one there to tell us they were come. And this is alleged as a reason for our not waiting for the Lord! No: we must get down to another and an earthly hope before signs come in or are applicable to us. The virgins in the parable did sleep, and the saints have slept, but they went out to meet the bridegroom at the first, and awaited nothing else: when divinely aroused at midnight, they were to go forth to meet Him, and not to await aught else but Him The case of the Thessalonians is exceedingly strong. They so expected Christ to come in their life-time that they were uneasy if a saint died. Paul relieves them from this anxiety by telling them the dead in Christ would be raised. But does he correct their expectation as an unfounded one, saying, Signs must be fulfilled, all should die, and I know not what? Far from it. He shows the dead will have part, but strengthens their hope and associates himself with it, saying, “We which are alive and remain” Unbelief and Satan may seek to divert from this; the Holy Ghost sanctions and insists on it when the question is raised.
Such are but a few of the proofs the publication affords of the absence of spiritual intelligence inseparable from the system it maintains, as well as of the utter futility of its reasonings. Hence it was not thought worth while to answer it, save briefly. It professes to review the question, but is little more than a re-assertion of Mr. Newton's prophetic theory, as it seeks also to accredit his “Thought on the Apocalypse.” Now every reader ought to know that it is hard to say whether the absurdities or the blasphemies of that book are the most glaring, and that its system is inevitably identified with a false doctrine of as audacious dishonor against the Lord Christ as ever was known. Here are some of the proofs from the first edition, 1843—In p. 45, speaking of the elders, it is said, “their eldership and proximity to the throne of the Most High, are sufficiently plain indications of their being called into participation of His counsels.”
P. 48 et seq. “Nothing perhaps amongst all the attributes of God is more wonderful than this universality of present control, all the merely executive agents of His government being subordinate thereto it gives a view of Almighty and omnipresent power more wonderful perhaps than the original power of creation, or that whereby He continually upholds that which He hath created. This power is at present possessed and exercised by the Lord Jesus.... but His saints do not possess it yet But since it is said in scripture that we are the fullness of Him that filleth all in all it cannot be doubted that the Church will participate in this branch of His glorious power” —that is, have Almighty and omnipresent power.
P. 51. “But there is yet another character of power which the Church is to exercise in the glory. Admission into the counsels of God is represented by the throned elders—omniscient power of superintendence, by the seven spirits; but the execution of the will of God, and the omnipotent power necessary to such execution, is also committed to the redeemed. This is a third sphere of their glory. They are represented in it by the living creatures, or cherubim.”
Thus, the Church will be omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Is not this open blasphemy? The last form of power, for which it refers to Ezekiel, is thus described— “nowhere absent but everywhere present, in the perfectness of undivided action; afford the mysterious but fitting symbol of the omnipotent agency of the power of Him, before whom all the inhabitants of the earth are reported as nothing” (p. 52). “And when we consider what the state of the earth will be when that period arrives we may see the necessity for such a power, and the high calling of the Church, in being entrusted with its application to the circumstances of a terrified but delivered earth” (pp. 53, 54). So in p. 55, still speaking of the Church as the cherubim, “as such will apply to the earth and to the universe the wisdom of the elders and the throne.” “And although all that we have yet seen in this chapter appears to exalt the creature almost into co-equality with God, yet we find His due supremacy most carefully maintained. The glorious power of the cherubim does not prevent their giving all glory, and honor, and thanks to Him that sat on the throne; nor does the higher exaltation of the elders prevent them from falling down before Him that sat on the throne, and worshipping,” &c.
But can the nauseousness of blasphemy be carried farther than, when, in ascribing omnipotence and omnipresence to the Church as executive power, it is declared that they apply the wisdom of the elders and the throne, setting the elders (i.e., the redeemed) before God Himself? It would be hard to find, in the wide circle of what printing has given to the world, such pages as 48-55 of Mr. N.'s Thoughts on the Apocalypse. For recklessness of assertion, for self-contradiction, for pseudo-criticism, we might produce a host of examples, if need were. And this is the book sought to be anew accredited by the publication under review. We enter no farther into its character here; but is it not painful to see a certain class of Christians greedily receiving this mass of unscriptural fancies and follies, which alas! have an object behind them, viz., the blotting out of Christ's various glory, and the denial of the true place of the Church as His body and bride? On the side of truth such a work would have not been borne an instant. It contradicts itself, parades bad Greek, details gross absurdities and bold statements without the smallest proof; but all this fades away before the real blasphemies which we have noticed as lying on the surface. One of the phenomena of the human mind is its disposition to receive error rather than truth. It likes error. And when imagination would be detected in a book pleading for truth, it is passed by in its most unbridled form and even liked when it is employed to teach error. It is a humbling fact. One only can deliver from its power.
The effort to re-accredit the “Thoughts on the Apocalypse,” which contains such blasphemies, and identified as it is with yet worse, cannot be too strongly and earnestly denounced. It is perhaps not wrong to add that the attempt has been made by one who has distinguished himself by another pamphlet, written to prove the resurrection of brutes and dedicated to a dead cat. There is no wish to do more than allude to such a fact; but many things help us in judging how far the guidance of God's Spirit is with a man.

Criticism on the Text of the New Testament: No. 1

As reference to the chief MSS. and editors of the Greek Testament may be frequent in this and other papers, it seems desirable to give a brief sketch for the sake of those readers who are not versed in such matters. The first printed Greek Testament was that contained in the Complutensian Polyglott. It was completed, it seems, about the beginning of the year 1514; but difficulties occurred to delay its publication till (after the death of its patron, and at least nominal editor, Cardinal Ximenes in 1517) Pope Leo X. formally sanctioned its issue in 1520. Previously to its publication the celebrated Erasmus brought out his first edition in 1516. There can be little doubt that the less costly volume of the Rotterdam scholar contained a text founded on fewer and inferior MSS. and drawn up with censurable haste, when one considers that the word of God was in question. Indeed, Erasmus himself was sensible of the imperfections of the work, though it was not till 1527 that he availed himself of the help afforded by the Complutensian Bible. The MSS examined by Erasmus remain for the most part at Bale, where his first edition was printed; those which were used by the Complutensian editors are supposed to be chiefly at Alcala and Madrid. The last edition of Erasmus bears the date, we believe, of 1535, and this, with extremely few changes, was what R. Stephens adhered to in his third edition (1550), though he also collated, to a certain extent, some MSS. in the Royal Library of Paris, dm. A little later Beza published some five editions, which follow Stephens' very closely. In 1624 appeared the first of the Elzevir editions, and in 1633 their second was published, which presumed to give the “Textus ab omnibus receptus,” as they styled it.
In England, Bishops Walton (London Polyglott, 1657) and Fell (twenty years later) made some considerable collations of various readings; but there they stopped. It was in 1707 that Dr. John Mill published his edition, which, like the Elzevir, professed to adopt the text of Stephens' third edition; but at the same time furnished about 30,000 various readings, with notes expressive of his judgment on the more important of them. Buster's reprint, three years afterward, furnished additions from a dozen new MSS.
The excellent J. A. Bengel took the first step in 1734 of editing the Greek Testament, or rather the Revelation, according to the best authorities then known. For it is remarkable that even J. J. Wetstein, in his celebrated edition of 1751-2, did not venture to depart from the “Textus Receptus,” but set the readings which he thought genuine immediately below the text. His two large volumes are not less remarkable for the mass of MSS., in general carefully collated, than for its copious Greek and Hebrew quotations in illustration of the sentiments, phrases, words, &c. In 1782-8, C. F. Matthaei published his Greek Testament in 12 vols., 8vo., with readings from more than thirty previously uncollated Moscow MSS. But two of these manuscripts contained all the New Testament, and almost all belonged to what is known as the Byzantine family. Nearly about the same time Alter published his text, chiefly from a Vienna MS., with a valuable comparison of some manuscript copies of the Coptic, Sclavonic, and Latin versions. Birch soon followed, first with an edition of the gospels in 1788, and afterward with a collection of various readings of the rest of the New Testament, collated with great care throughout the best libraries of Italy, Austria, Spain, and Denmark.
Even before Matthaei, Alter, and Birch, Griesbach's first edition had appeared (1775-7); but it is the second (1796-1806) which has given that editor so high a place among the critics of the New Testament. He has spared no pains, and neglected no document which was accessible to him. In acumen, too, he was nearly unrivaled.
Dr. M. A. Scholz was the next editor of importance. He published, in 1830-6, an edition which assumes that the common Constantinopolitan text, met with in the vast majority of more modern copies, is purer than that of the more ancient Alexandrine class to which Griesbach had given (ceteris paribus) a decided preference.
In 1831 appeared the first edition of C. Lachmann, a mere manual, without a statement of his principles or his authorities. But the omission has been repaired in his larger edition of 1842-1850. He professes to fill up the plan projected by the famous Dr. Bentley. But we are convinced that, in the two main characteristics of his system of recension, he is rather an antagonist than a disciple. The one is an utter rejection of internal evidence, on the plea that to introduce that element in judging of conflicting readings is rather to interpret than to edit. The other is a slavish and exclusive adhesion to witnesses (MSS., versions, and fathers) before the fifth century. Of course, it is not contended that the internal evidence should be abused to set aside the clear and consentient testimony of external vouchers; but surely it is a most important veto, in the rare instances where a manifest error has very ancient support, as it is an extremely effective casting-vote, where there may seem to be a pretty even balance of outward evidences. And so far was the learned and penetrating Master of Trinity from a mechanical copying of one or two old MSS., that he himself somewhere explicitly states the value of the more modern and even comparatively faulty copies in correcting the occasional slips of the most ancient and the best MSS, Prof. Tischendorf is the last great editor, whose labors need be noticed. His first edition appeared at Leipsic in 1841; the second, of Leipsic, in 1849, a marked advance on its predecessor, not more in accuracy and fullness of research, than in moderation. In his seventh edition, which is now in course of publication, he has the moral courage and candor to correct many of his immature innovations, and to restore a multitude of ordinarily received readings which his earlier criticism had rashly disturbed. If we can say little in commendation of his first issues at Leipsic and Paris, we may add with truth that his invaluable reprints of some of the best uncial MSS., his laborious and successful collations of the weightiest documents of various sorts and languages throughout the old world, and his generally accurate, prompt, and able application of all to the establishment of the Greek text in as pure a form as possible, and carrying its own proofs in the subjoined authorities, have laid Christian students under deep obligations to him. Indeed, he furnishes in his foot-notes the means, for those who are more jealous for God's word and more cautious in judgment than himself, to set aside the conclusions arrived at in his text.
But it is high time to leave others, and to say a few words upon the works before us. Mr. Green has proved himself, in former labors, to be learned and sensible, even where one is not convinced by his reasons. Of his “Developed Criticism,” we cannot speak in the same strong terms of praise as were due to his “Treatise on the Grammar of the New Testament.” The tendency appears to grow in him, as in others, to give an overwhelming preponderance to a very few hoary-headed witnesses. Let him remember that the most acute and experienced of the continental living critics is retracing many a hasty step taken in younger days. In this respect, there is a wholesome wariness in Mr. Scrivener's “Notes,” published some years back, though we think that he pushes his maintenance of the common text to excess. For it is well to bear in mind that to accredit received readings, if not scripture, is dangerous, no less than to reject those which really are scripture because of a deficiency in the known extant evidence. It cannot be doubted that there are in the common Greek text intrusions from the hand of man, which must be judged if we would enjoy as we ought the perfect word of God. For the value of that word is the measure of the value of a text as immaculate as can be procured and ascertained. Details we may take up another time, if the Lord will.
(To be continued.)

Criticism on the Text of the New Testament: No. 2

Our object, in the present paper, is to give such a sample as our narrow limits may permit, of some remarkable changes which it has been proposed to make in the common text of the Greek Testament. For though God, in His providence, has not failed to watch over His word, yet was it entrusted to the responsibility of man, who has broken down here, as everywhere else. Man has not known how to keep the holy deposit as became him. There were accidental slips of the copyists, as even yet there are, spite of extreme care, not a few errors of the press. Words, clauses, sentences might be, and often were, omitted by oversight. Interchanges of words that bore some resemblance occurred now and then. Then, again, it was not uncommon for marginal notes, originally meant as explanations, &e., to creep into the text through the ignorance or negligence of some after scribe. Finally, it can hardly be doubted that there are traces of intentional tampering with the copies, occasionally in the way of wholly unfounded additions; more frequently attempts at correcting terms and expressions, grammatical or other supposed errors; and, last of all, assimilations of scripture statements, as, for instance, in the corresponding parts of the four gospels. To these and other kindred causes are due the various readings of the ancient MSS. Numerous as they are, they are not out of proportion to the vast body of the copies.
But the task of correcting the Greek vulgate (i.e., of settling, in each particular case, what were the precise words of the Spirit) is one of no ordinary delicacy. And to us the matter for marvel (we must add, for deep thankfulness) has been the comparative purity, and, indeed, the substantial excellence, of that very “Textus Rec.” which it has been of late so much the fashion to despise. It is fully allowed that there are faults in it which not only older and better MSS., but a more careful examination of the then extant documents, might have corrected. Nevertheless, we gravely question whether the critical results of Lachmann, and Tischendorf in his early editions, are preferable on the whole. Sure we are that, in very many instances of serious moment, their latest products are not so trustworthy as yet. For, while the editions of the sixteenth century were formed on insufficient data and were slovenly as to details, the meddling criticism of our own age has made frequent and fearful inroads on the true text. The carelessness of the one and the self-complacent confidence of the other injures to an amount which, if it be not equal in number and weight, is at least highly discreditable to our era with all its boasted appliances.
This is strong language, but it is hardly so stern a condemnation, we submit, as strict righteousness would demand. The reader must be content with a few sheaves out of an abundant harvest. Every Christian is familiar with the parable of the two sons in Matt. 21:28-31, and with the striking picture their respective conduct afforded—the one who promised ill but afterward repented, of the despised people who turned from their sins to John the Baptist; and the other of the fair-spoken religious leaders who were willing for a season to rejoice in his light, but soon rejected him and the truth to which he witnessed. Nothing can be clearer than the language of our Lord and its drift. The first son was openly evil and refused his father's will, but afterward he repents himself and goes as he was commanded. The other answers well and nothing more. Can there be a doubt which of the two did the will of his father? It was “the first;” and such is the testimony of eleven old uncial MSS., the mass of the cursives, and some of the best ancient versions, eastern and western; yet, sad to say, Lachmann and Tischendorf, followed, we believe, by their English imitators, Alford and Tregelles, have boldly made the people give the absurd answer, “The last"! Now this is against the very evidence which themselves adduce. For the Vatican MS. (B) is the sole Greek witness of importance (if not, in fact, the only witness) which gives ὁ ἔσχατος (4 exhibiting δεύτερος, and 13, 69, ὁ ἔσχατος, supported by some versions and fathers). But then it is most unfair to base the proposed change upon this authority; because in the Vatican MS. and its reflectors, the answers of the two sons stand in inverted order; so that in effect the sense is the same as that of the common text. The Cambridge Codex Bezse (D) has the unenviable distinction among the uncials of reading ὁ αισχατος (= ὁ ἔσχατος) while it retains the usual order. Manifestly, then, these critics have slipped into the false position of rejecting the overwhelming majority of the best authorities, and of furnishing, as the real text of the evangelist, that which is the reading of not one uncial MS. in existence, for it is neither the order of Β nor the text of D; and this in spite of strong and unambiguous internal reasons which fix the right word, and in opposition to their own professed and almost mechanical attachment to the ancient external evidence! It is but fair to observe that Dr. Tischendorf has long abandoned this with many burlesques (as we must call them) on scripture—the more wretched because accompanied by a vast deal of ill-founded pretension to accuracy. But the lesson of the Leipsic Professor seems to have been lost on Mr. Green, who weaves an elaborate cobweb (pp. 23-26) round this plain question. He appears to lean towards ἔσχατος, a term stronger than ὕστερος, and he explains it, after a mode unprecedentedly farfetched, as = πρῶτος! He takes the second son's answer as the language of a sincerity (!) inconsiderate and fruitless; and in that case, the first son was in the rear of the other, for he had not advanced as far as well-meant profession!! He might as well argue that white=black. Happily, however, such a vagary as this was destined to the ephemeral existence it deserved, if it could be said to deserve existence at all. In a revised or new version of Matthew, which Mr. G. has published since his “Developed Criticism,” he has wisely returned to the king's highroad from the bye-path of a crotchety reading and a still more crotchety explanation.
But such uncertainty of sound, painful as it is, is less painful than the dishonor done to the entire closing section of St. Mark. Lachmann, usually presumptuous, did not dare even to bracket a concluding scene worthy of and inseparable from the gospel to which it belongs. Alas! Mr. Green is not afraid to sum up his judgment in these words— “Thus does the hypothesis of very early interpolation satisfy the body of facts in evidence” (p. 63). Nor is Mr. G. alone, Not to speak of foreigners, Mr. Alford and Dr. Tregelles will have it that the veritable Mark ends with ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ, the rest being authentic, but not Mark's. Now we agree with Mr. G.'s admission, that “it cannot he imagined that the evangelist formally brought his narrative to a close at the end of the eighth verse,” save only remarking that this is just what Mr. A. and Dr. Tregelles seem to have “imagined.” But what does Mr. G. “imagine?” As bad, we fear. Does Mr. G. conceive that the inspired conclusion of Mark is lost? or that the surviving sections were inspired and so preserved, and the close of the same evangelist not inspired and so lost? Does Mr. G. fancy that Mark never finished his brief gospel, but left a most important part to be added by another and unknown hand? To what a land of shadows and morass these gentlemen invite us, with the vain inducement of new light! Their inconsistency, too, is as egregious as their doctrine is deplorable. Thus Mr. Alford admits that the authority of Mark 16:9-20, is hardly to be doubted, and withal maintains that it is irreconcilable with the other gospels, as well as disconnected with what goes before. Singular marks, they would seem to us, of authentic scripture! But they are no difficulty to the Dean of C., who holds that the occurrence of demonstrable mistakes in the gospels (as in the Acts of the Apostles) “does not in any way affect the inspiration or the veracity of the evangelists.” Assuredly, that cannot be inspired of God wherein Mr. A. can point out demonstrable error.
But we must have done with this shameless Anglo-Germanism, and have only to add that the external evidence is decidedly in favor of this disputed passage. Is the omission of Β and of some copies of the Armenian and Arabic versions with a single Latin MS.—is the silence of the Eusebian and Ammonian sections, with the marks in L, &c, to overthrow the vast mass of positive testimony"? It seems probable that much of this, if not all, may be accounted for by the difficulty found in harmonizing the passage with others; and so the knot was cut, instead of leaving it as it was for the Lord to untie by more patient hands. As to the alleged internal difficulties, we have examined them with care, and believe that the characteristics of the passage confirm and require its reception.
Another notable piece of recent editorship appears in Luke 14:5. The common and true reading, ὄνος, (ass,) has good ancient support, but undoubtedly ὑιός has far more valuable extant MSS in its favor. It will hardly be credited by the uncritical reader that Scholz, Lachmann, Tischendorf, with an admiring herd, have renounced not only spirituality but even common sense, and have consecrated the obvious blunder of these early copies. They represent our Lord as saying, “Which of you shall have a son or an ox,” &c. But this, as Mr. G. remarks, quite destroys the reasoning a fortiori—nay, throws the stress on the wrong side of the argument. And why, then, does not Mr. G. deal summarily with such a monster of criticism?
As to the next passages which we refer to, Luke 22:43, 44, and 23:34, Mr. Green, we regret to say, seems to be more skeptical than Tischendorf, who prints them without hesitation. The Christian has only to refer to his Bible in order to feel what is endangered.
It will suffice to give two specimens from the fourth. gospel John 5:3, 4, is the first considerable passage which has been improperly disturbed; and here, as in Mark 16, it is remarkable that the incredulous Lachmann rises up to condemn Tischendorf and Mr. Green. These last omit from ἐκδεχομένων to νοσήματι, because of its absence, wholly or in part, in three or four first rate MSS. (pr.m.) some other authorities and suspicious circumstances confirming this. Now, to a simple mind, we think that the words of the impotent man, verse 7, decide the question in favor of the corrected A, C, and of D, E, F, G, H, K, (L in part) M, S, U, Δ, &c. They are grounded on the obnoxious statement relative to the troubling of the water, and are hardly intelligible without it. But when men get habituated to the textual manipulation of Germany, the most palpable gaps are turned into an evidence of genuineness, and the omitted words are viewed with the suspicion of being marginal glosses.
Still more blamable appears to us Mr. Green's dealing with John 8, following Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford, and Tregelles. We frankly admit that the passage is wanting in a good many of the best MSS. It is contained, with some variations, in many uncials, and the mass of cursives; it has respectable testimony from versions of nearly every quarter, and from fathers. But it does seem extraordinary that Mr. G. should omit to give the weighty words of Augustine (De conj. Adult. ii.), not so much because they positively attest the presence of this portion in the copies of his time, but more because he gives the clear, simple, and satisfactory key to the shiftings of place, the fluctuations of shape, the stigma of distrust, and the non-recognition in Origen, Chrysostom, Tertullian, and many more, where a notice might have been looked for. Enmity to the true faith, according to Augustine, was the cause of its retrenchment. Some unwilling to go so far, would insert it with marks of doubt; others might hide it elsewhere, or more boldly leave a blank; which of itself intimates that its existence was known, but that for some reason it was omitted by those who little appreciated the glory of Christ, or the perfectness and the authority of His word. To say that “the genuineness of the passage cannot be maintained” is the conclusion of Mark G.! Some of these editors allow it to be true and inspired, but not John's: evidently a mere halfway towards discarding it altogether. It could be easily shown, were this the place, that the narrative bears the indelible marks of that disciple's style, and of the design which the Holy Ghost has imprinted on his gospel and on no other book.
With these unfavorable instances of Mr. G. we must close. They will serve to show, in some measure, why we think his “Developed Criticism” superficial and unworthy of unreserved confidence. Other opportunities may offer of referring to many places in the common text where he has succeeded. They are chiefly verbal corrections, and are nowhere perhaps, so numerous and happy as in the Acts of the Apostles (e. g. chap. 1:25; 3:20; 4:27; 6:8; 8:10, 27; 9:5, 6; 10:6; 11:20; 13:18; 15:17, 18, 33; 16:7; 18:5; 23:9; and 24:18, if not 6, 7, 8). In the Epistles, we think he is often rash and mistaken. Only four passages in the Apocalypse are discussed briefly but with judgment.

Notes of a Lecture on Daniel 2:19-49 and Daniel 7: Part 1

I have to read this chapter, dear friends, because it gives an outline of a part of prophecy of which other parts of Scriptures are the detail. We began with the Church's having a sure and certain hope, through the never changing promise of God, of being caught up to be forever with Christ before He comes to judge the world, and we saw that the looking and longing, where the heart is truly for Christ, for His coming again, is the bright and cheering influence of the Christian's path. Last evening we saw the professing church looked at as in the world, that which is called the Church, to be at last utterly rejected of God, fearfully judged for its corruption, or spewed out of Christ's mouth as nauseous.
When we turn to the ways of God on the earth, we have seen that His direct government had always been exercised with the Jews as a center. Providential government He always exercises. He makes all things work together for good to those that love Him. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without Him who is our Father. But when we come to direct government, the immediate dealings with men on the earth according to their conduct, and the direct public interference of God to show His ways on earth, then the Jews come on the scene, and are the pivot round which those ways turn. But they extend necessarily, when fully displayed, to the Gentiles who surround them, and fill the earth, the great body of whom have now long oppressed them. Hence the same passages which refer to the Jews refer to the Gentiles also, as those who come up before God when He begins that government in which the Jews have the first and principal place on earth. These passages I will now refer to, some of which, by reason of what I have just noticed, have already been quoted in reference to the Jews.
But before doing so I must point out two classes of Gentiles to which they refer, in respect of whom there are two very distinct classes of prophecy in Scripture: that which refers to those who were enemies of the Jews when God was there with them on the earth, when He owned them, or will hereafter again own them as His people; and that which refers to those who oppress them when they are not, when God has written on them Lo Ammi, “not-my-people,” and the times of the Gentiles have begun. These are entirely distinct. We get certain powers dealt with which are outside Israel, and are their enemies—when [the presence of God and His throne are still in the midst of that people, and the representatives of whom will be found in the latter days, when God has taken Israel up again. But after the Jews turned to idolatry, and, whatever had been God's patience rising up early and sending His prophets till there was no remedy, He was obliged to give them up to judgment. He then set up Nebuchadnezzar, and the times of the Gentiles began; and they are still running on. The empire passed from Babylon to Persia, and Persia to Greece; and the Jews were slaves to the Romans when Christ came, slaves to the Gentiles. Their ecclesiastical polity was allowed to exist, but the civil power was in the hands of their oppressors. These times of the Gentiles run on until Christ executes judgment, until those who were the oppressors of God's people, when He does not own them, shall be destroyed, and those who are their enemies outside these oppressors shall be brought to naught at a time when they think they have got it all their own way; and then the Jew is set free.
In a word, Scripture shows us that the Jews are the center of God's earthly dealings; and that as regards the Gentiles there are two classes of prophecy, one referring to the enemies of God's people when He owns them, and the other their oppressors when they are turned off and He does not own them. Deut. 32 lays the prophetic ground at the very origin of their whole history, of all that is to come to pass. In the 8th verse, as we have seen when speaking of the Jews, they are shown to be the center of His ways. “When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people (peoples) according to the number of the children of Israel.”
Just connect it now with the general judgment of the Gentiles. The prophet first states that after his decease Israel would corrupt themselves; then he goes on in verse 21 to the wickedness, the fruit of which is going on now. In the 25th verse he rises above the wickedness so as not to destroy them, to show that He is God. Then he goes on to the time of His rising up to judgment, leading us to that of which we are speaking. When Israel is brought utterly low He will indeed judge His people, but He will also repent Himself concerning His servants. His hand, as it is expressed, takes hold on judgment, rendering vengeance to His enemies, for such the Gentile powers are found to be, and apostate Jews too. He makes His arrows drunk with blood, and His sword devours flesh. Yet this it is brings in the millennial blessings, when the nations will rejoice with His people, for He will avenge the blood of His servants (a thing we have not yet accomplished)—will render vengeance to His adversaries, and, mark the expression, be merciful to His land and to His people. Thus we have His people judged, His servants avenged, His adversaries brought under vengeance, yet His land and people Israel coming into mercy, and the Gentiles rejoicing with them—in a word, judgment, the Lord's adversaries destroyed, Gentiles and apostate Jews, His servants avenged, Israel restored, and the nations blessed with them, but Israel His people.
I will now turn before distinguishing the enemies of Israel owned of God, and their oppressors when given up, to the general testimony of the judgment of the nations, and then show you the two distinct. Turn to the last chapter of Isaiah (66) verse 15, “For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire; for by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh.” We have the great general fact of the judgment of the nations; and if you turn to verses 6 to 14, you will see the Jews set up again. “For thus saith the Lord (verse 12) Behold I will extend peace to her (Jerusalem) like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.” Then you get the ungodly Jews in verse 17th and thence to the 24th, the manifestation of Jehovah's glory, those that escape the judgment that accompanies it going off to the nations and announcing the appearing of that glory, and bringing back the scattered Jews to Jerusalem. I get, then, thus the great fact that the Lord comes to judge all flesh; and those He finds interfering with Israel He cuts off.
Now turn to Psa. 9 and 10. They celebrate the judgment and destruction of the enemies of Israel in the land. The Psalmist introduces the whole subject in the 4th and 5th verses, “For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right, thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou East put out their name forever and ever.... that I may show forth all thy praise in the gates in the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation. The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God,” verses 14-16; Psa. 10:16. “The LORD is king forever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land.” These are the two Psalms which, after speaking of the rejection of Christ as king in Zion, and His taking the character of universal headship as Son of man in Psa. 8, bring in the whole testimony of the Psalms, the state and feelings of the remnant of Israel in the last days, and the judgment which God executes upon the Gentiles.
Hence, remark, it is that we find in the Psalms these appeals to judgment and demands for it, which have often stumbled Christians, when urged by the enemies of Christianity. They are not, the expression of Christian feelings. We leave the world and go to heaven. In no sense have we to demand the destruction of our enemies in order to pass into glory. But Israel cannot have their rest on earth until the wicked are destroyed; and therefore they do demand this righteous judgment, and that is the way they will be delivered.
To pursue our subject; turn to Jer. 25. This is a remarkable chapter; but first Twill give you a few verses from the end of Isa. 24:16, but to show the connection with Israel I will read from verse 13th “And thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done, they shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea. Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea. From the uttermost parts of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, my leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously, yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously. Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open and the foundations of the earth do shake. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.” There you get the world reeling like a drunkard, under the terrible judgment of God, and (verses 21, 22) we see the judgment of the powers of evil on high, the prince of the power of the air and his angels, and of the kings of the earth on the earth; and then the LORD reigning in Zion and before His ancients gloriously.
Now turn to Jer. 25:15, “For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me: Take the wine-cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it.” He speaks of the various nations in that way, and then goes on from verses 29 to 33 to declare the universal judgment of the heathen, describing the terrible coming down of Jehovah in judgment upon them.
Turn now to Mic. 5 “And I will execute judgment in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.” But then, too, Israel is blessed and re-established in power in verses 7, 8, and that through Christ, great to the end of the earth (verse 4, 5.) “And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God: and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds and eight principal men.”
Turn to Joel 3:9 to 17. “Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let then come up. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning. hooks into spears: let the weak say I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord; let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: (Jehoshaphat means judgment of Jehovah) for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake; but the Lord shall be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.”
What makes this passage additionally important is, that Jerusalem is brought back to blessing and never to be trodden down again, no strangers shall pass through her any more, but the Gentiles who helped on her affliction are destroyed forever. In the time of Nebuchadnezzar, when Jerusalem was in trouble, and again when Titus besieged and took it, the Gentiles were not destroyed at all. When Cyrus sent back a remnant to Jerusalem, they remained captive, and strangers are yet in Jerusalem. Again we find here all the nations gathered together, the Gentiles destroyed and the Jews set up.
Zeph. 3:3 to end: Jehovah's determination is to gather all the nations. They are to be devoured by the fire of His jealousy. Here again, too, we find that Israel will never be cast out again. He will bring back their captivity and make them the praise among all the people. He will cast out their enemy. They will not see evil any more. Jehovah is in the midst of Jerusalem, God will rest in His love. I will turn to one more passage before I show the difference between the two classes of enemies to Israel.
Hag. 2:5 to 9, “According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. For thus saith the Lord of hosts: yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land, and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house [properly, the latter glory of this house] shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.” The apostle quotes this passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews, showing that it has not yet come. “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven.” He is urging them not to rest on earthly and created things, showing that that time of universal shaking of the first and changeable creation was yet to come, declaring that all would be shaken and pass away.
Let us now take a review of Scripture as to the two classes of Israel's enemies of which I have spoken.
The chief enemy of Israel, while Israel was still owned of God before the captivity of Babylon, was the Assyrian. There had been others, as Syria, but Syria succumbed to the Assyrian. Egypt then sought to fill the scene of the world and came up, conquered Judea, and met the power of Babylon at Carchemish; but its power was broken, and Nebuchadnezzar became the head of gold over the whole earth, and the times of the Gentiles began, which are still running on, and will, till the Lord takes His great power and reigns. No doubt the Jews came back, or a small remnant of them, from Babylon, to present Messiah to them. But they were so wicked and perversely idolatrous that God had given them up to captivity, and, even when in their land on their return, they were subject to the Gentiles. God's glory and His throne were no longer amongst them. When they came back, they never got the Shekinah; the Shekinah was the cloud that manifested the presence of God. They had no longer the ark, or the Urim and Thummim What constituted the witness of God's presence was gone, and these things were never restored. These are the times of the Gentiles still; the four beasts constituted the times of the Gentiles. And this, as to the earth, was of the last possible importance. The throne of God ceased to be on the earth.
Prophecy, indeed, remained till the outward order was restored; but it is remarkable that the post-captivity prophets never set aside the judgment pronounced in Hosea— “Ye are not my people.” They never call the Jews God's people in their then standing, doing so only when they prophesy of that future day when they will be restored to the divine favor which is yet to come.
Finally, when Christ came, He was rejected, and sat down on His Father's throne, and the divine power and glory is wholly above, the object of faith to the believing soul. The people whom God had called, and who had God's throne among them, were wholly cut off, though preserved.
Well, the throne of God had ceased on the earth at the beginning of these times of the Gentiles; and therefore, in Daniel you never get the God of the earth, but the God of heaven, because He was not there with them. The departure of God from the direct government of the earth with Israel for the center, His throne being in their midst, sitting between the cherubim, as it is said, and His return to the government of the earth, are of immense importance.
In Ezekiel we see His judgment on Jerusalem. God comes (Nebuchadnezzar being the instrument), God comes on the cherubim in the way of providence (those wheels which were so high they were dreadful), spares His own whom He has marked, and gives up the rest to destruction. He executes judgment, leaves them, and goes into heaven. The Gentiles are left to rule, subject to God's providence and final judgment; Israel, and God's throne in their midst, is set aside.
Four great empires arise successively—Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The Roman Empire, while devastating everywhere, does not succeed in getting all nations under its power, but continues the great power of the world till the judgment, though in a special form.
Then the Assyrian comes on the scene again at the close; that is, geographically what is now Turkey in Asia and part of Persia, but in the last days Assyria will appear on the scene in the Russian power, according to the testimony of Ezek. 37; 38 (a passage applied to this power one hundred and fifty years ago by the elder Lowth before the present question arose). And the world, as connected with Israel and God's ultimate purposes on the earth, is divided into Western Europe, and the basin of the Mediterranean; the Roman Empire, and Eastern Europe or the Russian. These two are never confounded in Scripture. The Assyrian was the power that warred against Israel when God owned them, and the other the power that oppressed and held them captive when they were not owned.
Now in Isaiah and the pre-captivity prophets you get the Assyrian all through, the beast being scarcely mentioned (once “the King,” so as to complete the scene; and even that, I apprehend, is a subordinate ally of the beast). Whereas in Daniel you do not get the Assyrian, unless, possibly, obscurely in one chapter, and then not as such, the same thing being true of Zechariah, save that all nations are mentioned in both in a general way, as brought as sheaves to the floor when rising up against Jerusalem. Thus far I have been speaking of the general judgment; now, having distinguished between the beasts and the Assyrian power of the latter day, we have to cite those which apply to them distinctively.
Turn to Daniel, you get fully the beasts, but not the Assyrian. Let us examine first the chapter I read. Here we have Nebuchadnezzar the head of gold, the Persian Empire denoted by silver, the Grecian by brass, the Roman by iron, while the iron and clay represent the present state of things. Then after these last were formed, a stone is cut out without hands (God's sovereign work), smites the image all becomes as the chaff of the summer threshing floor, and no place is found for them; and then the stone which smote the image became a great mountain which filled the whole earth.
There is not here, remark, a trace of influence exercised over the previous component parts of the image so as to produce a change of character. The notion is that Christianity will spread and pervade these countries. Now the stone does not grow at all till they are entirely destroyed. There is no influence exercised, no modification takes place, no change at all is spoken of here. The little stone destroys all before it increases. It is the stone which has smitten the image which grows.
What we have got here is the coming of Christ's kingdom in judgment, and a total destruction of the empires which preceded its action. That action was on the last, and more particularly on the toes of iron and clay, the last form which this image took, looked at in its geographical distribution on earth, and the condition of its parts, partly strong, partly broken. What gives its specific character to the figure is, that the stone does not grow at all until it has clone all these things, and after it has finished its work of judgment and destruction, grows to be a great mountain.
What is going on now is not this. Christ has ascended up on high and He waits, in the spirit of grace, sitting on the right-hand of His Father's throne, while the saints, His co-heirs, the church is gathering out of the world; until at the moment known to God alone, He rises up from the Father's throne, then to take to Him His great power and reign, His enemies being now put under His feet.
Turn now to the interpretation itself, which is perfectly clear on this point. Power in the world is entrusted to man in the person of Nebuchadnezzar; three empires succeed his, and at the end, though there be a strength in the last which breaks in pieces and subdues all around it, yet a conflict of principles characterizes its latter form (I have little doubt the Teutonic and Latin elements); and it is partly strong and partly broken. But then the close comes, verse 44: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever.”
You will remember, beloved friends, that on the last evening we saw the general outline of God's dealings with the Gentiles, in connection with His chosen earthly people, the Jews: (the Jews being the center of all God's earthly dealings) First, that at the restoration of the Jews there would be the judgment of the Gentiles, the nations being divided into two classes, those that were enemies to God's people when God owned them and had His throne in their midst; and those who led them captive and oppressed them when God did not own them. Both will be cast out from the seat of power. It is evident that, as regards the world, it is an all important fact, God's taking His throne from it. When that took place, He was no longer the God of the earth, though He over-rules all things providentially, but does not exercise direct government as in Israel when His throne was there. Hence Daniel calls Him the God of heaven, and it is not until He comes to judge the world that He takes his name of God of the earth, Lord of the whole earth (see Zech. 14). The time during which God gives up His throne on the earth is called “the times of the Gentiles.” During these times the Jews who were taken captive and made slaves to Nebuchadnezzar have ceased to be God's people as a present position, and are always subject to the Gentiles, and the times of the Gentiles run on till He comes to take vengeance. Then He takes them up again, casting out, as we saw before, those who oppressed them when they were not owned, and those who were enemies when they were owned and His throne was in their midst.
The distinctions of these two classes is important to us because we are in the times of the Gentiles. In the prophecies there is never the slightest confusion between the two. The Assyrian, and finally Gog, is the great enemy of Israel when the people is owned, the four beasts or Gentile empires their oppressors when they are not. The prophets up to the captivity and Ezekiel speak of the former, Daniel and Zechariah of the latter, to which (when we come to the New Testament) we must add Revelation. The whole New Testament history is under the last beast.
The first, fullest, and most general account of these is in chapter 7 of Daniel, which we have read. If we turn to it now for a moment, we shall see that it is divided into portions by the term: I saw in the night visions. First we have, verses 1-6, the fact of the four great empires and a brief account of three. The next division, beginning with verse 7th to the 12th, a particular description of the fourth beast, and then a throne set up and judgment. Verse 13 begins another division in which the kingdom is given to the Son of man After this we have the explanation given to Daniel by the angel, in which the condition of the saints under the beasts and particularly the last beast, and, finally, under the Son of man, is given. They are beasts as having lost their intelligence towards God, not owning Him, and doing their own will in ravening power as far as they can. Of this the madness of Nebuchadnezzar was a figure.
The three first great empires are Babylon (the head of gold); the bear, Persia (silver); the leopard, Grecian (brass). On these I do not dwell they are past. The fourth beast, described as we have seen apart more particularly, is the Roman; you find him represented as fierce and powerful, tearing and devouring—not simple conquest, but putting all down under it, treading down what it did not devour; and where has not Western Europe sought to place its power? But which is far more important still, we find direct antagonism to God.
Verses 7-8, “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots, and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.” You will remark that there is a special power here (a horn, the symbol of power or a kingdom); before it three of the kingdoms fall. Its general character is given here. We shall see the details farther on. It has eyes of man: eyes here mean intelligence, insight into things. His mouth speaks great things, saying, Who is Lord over us? Nor is this all—that his lips are his own, as the psalm speaks; but he will not allow of God.

Notes of a Lecture on Daniel 2:19-49 and Daniel 7: Part 2

“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, [here with the LXX and best judges we must read, “set,” which falls in with the sense indeed of the whole passaged and the ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame” The three first powers, you may remark, had their dominion taken away (their power was destroyed); but subsisted afterward as subject kingdoms, whereas, when the Roman Empire is put an end to, it is destroyed utterly.
To this we must now turn. It has an importance which none of the others have, though Babylon has a special character. It was the Roman Empire that was in power when Christ was born and took part in His rejection through Pilate, and hereafter they will join Antichrist when he comes. The prophet regards till the thrones are set and the ancient of days sits. The Roman Empire will then subsist and, whatever its form or its apparent subversion, is not supplanted by any other beast till the judgment comes. The prophet beholds till the thrones are set and the Ancient of days sits. This is an important element in the fourth beast's history; the consequence is, that it is utterly destroyed when it ceases to be an Empire Remark, too, the clear proof we have of what I drew your attention to as so important in speaking of chap. 2, namely-that the kingdom is not assumed by the Son of Man till the judgment is executed. He may and will destroy the beast by His power; but it is only when it is destroyed, His own kingdom is established. It cannot be along with evil. This is the question of the expectant and suffering Jew in Psa. 94:22. It is not now but after the judgment that the growth of, Christ's kingdom takes place. He is sitting at the right hand of God, but comes thence to take the kingdom with glory and power; He is gathering in now the joint-heirs.
Next, we find here that what is brought out as the cause of this judgment is the great words of blasphemy of the little horn. There cannot be a more definite statement that the glory and kingdom of Christ is consequent on the judgment. I insist upon this, because it bears upon everything we are treating of, and determines our whole view of the nature of Christ's kingdom. There is no change in the principle of sin, in the first Adam, but it goes on to the end. It was lawless at the beginning, breaking law when law was given, rose up against the Lord in hatred to God when He was made flesh and dwelt among us; and Satan having, throughout corrupted the church as we have seen, his power is allowed to unfold itself in the beasts, and in the last beast ripens to a head, and leads the kings of this earth to make war with the Lamb (the lawless one, the man of sin, being then openly revealed). Our portion, as we have seen, is in the Lord, nor will the fruitful power of His grace towards us cease till we shall be like Himself.
But though the kings of the earth stand up together, and the rulers take counsel together, yet God will set His King upon His holy hill of Zion. Here, however, the aspect of His power is somewhat different, He is seen as Son of Man, a term of wider dominion than Son of David, in which Psa. 2 views Him, but even there the heathen are given to Him for an inheritance, and He breaks them in pieces like a potter's vessel. The difference is this that here the kingdom is given and possessed as a dominion, in Psalm established by judicial power.
We now come to the interpretation in which this very judgment is spoken of, some immensely important truths besides being brought out. In the prophecy nothing had been said of the saints, heavenly or earthly: here we shall find both—I do not say the church, but still heavenly saints. Indeed, when God's mind is thus given, and not merely the outward facts, the connection pf these events with the saints is the principal point. (17th verse,) “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.” The saints will do it, not the Son of Man only. (21st verse), “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.”
Here you will first remark the extremely important point that the Ancient of days Himself comes. For though Christ, as man, is gone to receive a kingdom and to return; yet the Son of Man is the Ancient of days. So it is said in Timothy that the King of kings and the Lord of lords would show Christ in glory. But in the Revelation Christ comes as King of kings and Lord of lords; and I may add, in another relationship, the traits of the Ancient of days in Daniel are found in the Son of Man who walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks. He is there distinctly both—Son over His own house who built all things.
Another term calls for remark here—the saints of the Most High; or, as in the margin, heavenly places, which we find again in Ephesians as the place of the saints; yet it is immediately connected with the name God takes as possessor of heaven and earth. It is not here the Church but all the saints who have their dwelling in heavenly places in connection with the kingdom, yet in a state of eternal glory. God took the name of God Almighty in relationship with Abraham, of Jehovah with Israel, of Father, in grace, with us. Thus Abraham was to be perfect, walking before God Almighty, Israel was to be perfect with Jehovah their God. We are called to be perfect as our Father which is in heaven is perfect. We are before God as Christ; but, as He is in us, we are called to display the divine nature; to be imitators of God as dear children and walk in love as Christ loved us. But the name of Most High is the expression of God's sovereign dominion, above all that is called God, the Supreme. So, when Abraham returned from the slaughter of the kings, figure of Israel's deliverance and final victory in the latter day, Melchisedec, the figure of Christ as King and Priest, Priest upon His throne in the world to come, King of righteousness, King of peace, comes forward and blesses Abraham on the part of the Most High God possessor of heaven and earth and blesses the Most High in Abraham's name. In our chapter the saints have their name in connection with this, and indeed it is applied to God (with the difference then of being singular, instead of plural).
Meanwhile tribulation and trial is the portion of those on earth. The little blasphemous horn who speaks such great things makes war with the saints This is the general character. Of course they must be down here. Those on high he can only blaspheme. I do not believe this little horn to be Anti-Christ; the source of persecution is ever the traditional religious power. Antichrist will be in direct association with him and urges him to it of this hereafter. But this is the last active power of evil in the Roman Empire or beast whose names of blasphemy are on it: of this also further. This persecution will continue till God's power interferes. This is stated in a very important verse: he prevailed till the Ancient of days came (here we see that the Son of Man is the Ancient of days, for we know that the Son of Man comes); and thus a total change takes place, judgment is given to the saints of the high places, and the time is come that the saints possess the kingdom. He does not say saints of the Most High here, for on earth and in blessing the earthly saints will possess the kingdom as in Matt. 25; but judgment is given only to the saints of the Most High. The Ancient of days then comes, judgment is given to the heavenly saints (compare Rev. 20:4, where we read judgment was given unto them, and they live and reign with Christ 1000 years), and the saints possess the kingdom.
When will Christians learn their place? He is never called our King, but He is the King of the nations, of the world. We reign with Him—Nothing is so hard as to get the saints to accept the place they have in Christ—to know that in Him, through the price of His own most precious blood, they are one with Him in God's sight and purpose now, and (after having been caught up to Him in the clouds, as we have already seen in a previous lecture) will come with Him when He comes to judge the nations.
But I pursue the explanation. Verse 24— “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise, and another shall arise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings, and he shall speak great words against the Most High, and think to change tithes and laws; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” Most High, the first time it is mentioned here, is God himself. “Times and laws” refer to Jews entirely, the words are terms which refer to their statutes and ordinances These (not the saints) are given into his hands: God never gives His saints into their enemies' hands, though He may use these as a rod.
When that time comes, the beast at first makes his covenant with Israel according to Dan. 9:27—first joins with them, then breaks with them, and makes the sacrifice and oblation to cease. All the Jewish order which had been set up in pride will he completely upset, as in Isa. 18— “They shall be left together unto the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them.” They are brought into such trouble as never was since there was a nation, no, nor over will be. It is the time, times and half a time—the great tribulation. The verse gives in few words, but precisely, the state of things when the little horn is wearing out the saints of God. Satan will be cast out of heaven and have come down, as we have seen, in great rage, having but a short time.
Before that period everything is given into the power of the beast. Then the Lord, the Ancient of days who is come, takes all into His hands. “A short work will the Lord make upon the earth.” For the judgment shall sit; the kingdom shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High—that is, to the Jewish people, now brought into connection with the rule of heaven, and secured by it.
In order to get that clear a little, we turn to the Revelation, for there we find the history of this beast unfolded in chapter 13. I shall refer to it fully farther here, only to notice its character and what it is. It is the Roman beast with seven heads and ten horns. It receives its power from the dragon, blasphemes God and those in heaven, and makes war with the saints. It is ministered to spiritually by the deceitful power of Satan. It is the instrument of Satan's power in the earth, when he is cast out of heaven. Already, as the dragon, the Romans had joined in rejecting Christ. The Roman beast is the only one which has done it in the person of Pilate. But then Christ owned the power as of God, as it was. He said “Thou hadst had no power, if it had not been given thee from above,” though Satan's influence, as prince of this world, was guiding the use of that power. Then judgment was on one side, perfect righteousness on the other. When Christ comes again, judgment will return to righteousness. They will be reconciled in one, as it is in Psa. 94— “The Lord will not cast off His people, neither will He forsake His inheritance. But judgment shall return unto righteousness, and all the upright in heart shall follow it.” Till then the saints must not expect it. God may hold the reins and control to His own purposes the powers that be whom He hath ordained—may give thus all quietness, as we surely experience it and have to thank Him for; but we must not expect the motives of government to be righteousness as God sees it. It is the time to do well, suffer for it, and take it patiently as Jesus did; and when God looses the reins to evil, when Satan is come to the earth, then the full true character of evil power from Satan will be manifested. “The dragon gave him his throne, and power, and much authority.” Such is the Roman beast in its final state during the time, times and half a time.
The distinct and definite place and character of this period becomes as plain as possible if we consult the end of Dan. 9 The prophet receives from the heavenly messenger the assurance that the Jews will be restored. “Know, therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks: the streets shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times; and after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off and shall have nothing,” as in margin, “not 'for himself',” is not the sense. “And he shall confirm covenant with the many for one week, and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” -First, seven weeks during which time Jerusalem is rebuilt, then sixty-two weeks—making sixty-nine weeks; Messiah was cut off; but there was a week or part of one left. After the dose of the sixty-ninth week Messiah was cut off, and He took nothing. Thereupon the Jewish nation, instead of being restored, was completely subverted. So we find in Luke, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”
The last week thus remains. In the first half indeed Messiah was there, but rejected by the nation and owned only by the remnant. At the end Antichrist is owned by the nation, rejected by the remnant. The beast makes a covenant with the Jews for that week, but breaks it in the midst of the week, the half week remains unaccomplished. You get then three and a half years that remain to be accomplished, when abominations (i.e., idolatry) will overspread the Jewish people, the times and laws will be changed at that very time Satan is come down (in chapter 12 of Revelation), and the woman, the true remnant in Jerusalem, flees into the wilderness for a time, times, and half a time. This is Daniel's half week. You get it thus perfectly clear. The remnant owned Christ, but the Jews did not. You get the sixty-nine weeks, and then a long parenthesis in which Christ is set aside and the Jews on the earth, “desolations being determined,” which goes on until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled During this period the church, the heavenly thing, is called.
Thus the time we are in is not reckoned at all. So the prophets (who do not speak of the times of the Gentiles as Daniel does) pass it over altogether and connect Christ's second coming to earth with His first. We have a very remarkable proof of this from the Lord Himself, when quoting from Isa. 61— “The Spirit of the LORD GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” The prophet adds— “and the day of vengeance of our God.” This Christ does not read, though in the same sentence, but stops short in the midst of a sentence, when He had read as far as— “to preach the acceptable year of the LORD” —and then ceased. “He closed the book, and sat down;” because the remaining part of the prophecy extended beyond the period in which they then were, and in which we still are, to a time which is yet to come—the time of vengeance of the Lord.
All this time the interval in the midst of Daniel's week runs on without being counted. We do not count by time in heaven, and this is the time of the heavenly calling. This is evident from the passage in Dan. 9, for the weeks go on to sixty-nine; then all is vague to the one week at the end; but as soon as ever God takes the Jews up again, Daniel's week begins again. If you apply therefore the time, times, and half a time, or the forty-two months, or the twelve hundred and sixty days (which are precisely the same time, three hundred and sixty days being counted to a year, and the five intercalary days or epigomena being left out) to the intervening epoch, you are necessarily on false ground. I believe there is an analogy, as there are many Antichrists though they are not the Antichrist, proving in a moral sense we have been in the last days since the Apostle's time. But the moment you come to be precise, it all falls to the ground, although there is an analogy. The counting of time belongs entirely to the Jews, and the three years and a half begin to run when they are again on the scene, when Satan has been cast down, and the beast has assumed a diabolical character—is come up out of the abyss.
If you take chap. 13 of Revelation, you get the details of this beast—Verse 2— “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” There I get the direct authority of Satan. The saints of the Most High did not take the kingdom then: we shall be caught up and be entirely out of the way of that power of evil. Verse 3, “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed; and all the world wondered after the beast.” I do not doubt that we get here the Imperial head once destroyed but now revived—Verse 4— “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast, saying: Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” That is, the direct power of Satan, as dominant, is publicly owned, and the Roman Imperial beast thus restored carries all the world enthusiastically after it. In verses 5-6, “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwelt in heaven.” Mark here, he cannot touch them in heaven, but he blasphemes them. Satan had been cast out, he was no longer an accuser and those above he can only blaspheme. There will be some who will have a place in heaven and whose hearts are weaned from earth whom he will injure. Those whom he can hurt and kill will be taken up, or they would have lost earthly blessings by their faithfulness, and not get heavenly ones. Such there will be, who refuse to worship him But this is a detail into which I do not enter here, as our subject is the Gentile powers and their judgment. But “all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.” Verse 8—for such I have no doubt is the true force of the passage. Complete power (only God preserves a remnant) is in the hands of Satan and his instruments.
But, connected with this, we have now another power coming out of the earth. “And I beheld another beast coming out of the earth: and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” In this, I have no doubt, we have the Antichrist, or false Messiah, the direct exercise of Satan's falsehood on earth. He is not a priest, or anti-priest, here: that he exercised in heaven. He is a false prophet (compare 19:20), and he has two horns like a lamb. Horns are the power of a kingdom; and he sets up to have that like the Lamb. He pretends to the power of Messiah's kingdom and to be the hoped for king; but when his voice was heard, it was evidently Satan's. Antichrist denies the Father and the Son (i.e. Christianity); he openly denies its truths, and he openly denies that Jesus is the Christ, the first, so to speak, the Jewish form of Christianity, though ever of course true, but what a Jew was and will be called on to own. Verses 12 and 13, “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed, and he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.”
How solemn this, as the power of delusion, remark. It was the proof Elijah gave that Jehovah was the true God, not Baal. Here this active power of Satan is showing by the same sign that his witness is to be received, and that they are to own the beast and worship him, and they are so given up that they do believe the lie. We have seen elsewhere that he did falsely what Christ did to prove His mission. He leads them thus further to open denial of Christ, denies Christianity altogether, and says he is Christ himself; but, at the same time, leads them by these means into idolatry, and to make an image to the restored beast (14, 15, 16), “and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live, and he had power to give (not life, none can do that but God, but) breath unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause that as many as would not worship the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark on their right hand or in their foreheads:” that is, he forces them to be his avowed slaves, and make an open profession of his service.
In sum, we have a second beast using diabolical spiritual energy, and playing into the hands of the beast who held his throne from Satan. You get a kind of trinity of evil, and resurrection. The dragon gives the throne to the beast, as the Father to Christ, and the second beast exercises in spiritual energy the power of the first beast in his presence, as the Holy Ghost with Christ. This is the fruit of the falling away, the apostasy of Christianity. So the first beast was slain and his deadly wound is healed.
In chapter 17 we have other aspects of the beast, or Gentile power. The empire is given, but it will ascend out of the bottomless pit, become definitely diabolical and go into perdition. Ver. 9, 10, 11, “And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth, and there are seven kings, forms of power, five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come, and when he cometh he must continue a short space And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” That is, five forms of government were fallen in the apostle's time; and one was the imperial; a sixth was to come and abide a short time; and the last, who is of the seven, as a form I suppose imperial, but is an eighth. In this last form he comes out of the bottomless pit—as a diabolical character. It will be a Roman Emperor: he is the eighth head, and is the beast (that is, concentrates all the power in his own person). After him the world, save only the elect, will go, seeing the long-lost form of power revived in his eighth head. It is Rome; for the seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits: of her anon. But another important element is added (Ver. 12), “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.”
“One hour with the beast” —mark that, because it is the definite evidence that it had not been going on since the fall of the Roman Empire through the inroad of the Northern nations. Those nations broke up, and, for the time, destroyed the beast—gave it its deadly wound. These receive power one hour with the beast: therefore the beast must come up again. It existed at the first without these kings Then these kings existed without it, and you have the ten kings without the beast. At the end you get the ten kings with the beast. Men form schemes; but the moment I get Scripture, I can surely say we have not the beast in this form yet. What is presented here is subsisting kingdoms, but kingdoms which have given their power, without ceasing to be kingdoms, to one head, who leads all as a whole. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is the Lord of lords, and King of kings and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful. This beast, with his subordinate kingdoms, rises up in open hostility against the authority of Christ; while Christ comes with His armies to judge and destroy them all. God's mighty ones come down, the saints come with Christ, 15th and 16th verses, “And he said unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.”
This introduces us to the judgment of Babylon, of Rome, of the great whore, the mother of harlots and abominations. We see, not a spiritual change, but her utter destruction by the beast and the ten kings, the ruin of priest craft. They pull it all to pieces and devour its wealth and destroy it utterly, wearied with its dominion and falseness. It had deserved it. But it is not the power of good. “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and to give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” It is a perfect riddle how people who profess to receive the Scripture have invented all sorts of notions as to the course of events connected with Christianity in this world. The moment I come to Scripture, they are all gone. Men may talk as they like about the steady growth of religion in the world, and the way in which God's word will remove the power of evil from it. It is directly stated that, when the beast and the horns destroy the corrupt power which had long ruled them and made the nations drunk with her fornication, they give their kingdom to the beast.
You will find at the end of chap. 19 God's dealings with the beast (14th to 20th verses), “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written KING OF KINGS AND LORD or LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun: and he cried with a loud voice, saying to the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of men mighty, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” — And the false prophet which is the second beast—21st verse— “And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth, and all the fowls were filled with their flesh” —a strong figure drawn from Ezekiel of judgment and destruction. There we see that power has come, not the influence of the word, whether law or gospel; but power has come in which puts down evil power.
In chap. 20 we have a full development of what we read in Dan. 7. We get in the Revelation the history of the last beast more fully developed (that is, of the Roman Empire which had already rejected Christ when on earth in conjunction with the Jews). Consequent on the exaltation of Christ to the right hand of God, the Jews being set aside as a nation, the church was formed. She does not belong to the world, but is the bride of Christ in heavenly places. Then when the church is caught up, the beast which seemed to have been destroyed is found in a new form—still as such, its deadly wound being healed; and as he had joined in rejecting Christ, he is now in the closest connection with Antichrist. At the first he deals with the Jews, makes a covenant with there, but in the last half week of Daniel turns against them, persecutes them, changes times and laws, makes the sacrifice and oblation to cease. The King, the Antichrist, establishes idolatry, and divides their land. You read his character in this point of view in Dan. 11, verse 36— “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every God, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished; for that that is determined shall be done.” In a word, in Daniel as in the part of Revelations I have referred to, is the testimony of the beast, the last form of the power which oppresses Israel when they are captive, and does so until the Lord comes and delivers, though He judges them.
Now another power, the Assyrian comes before us, Israel's great enemy when God owns them, and who will also appear on the scene in his last form in the last days, thinking, when the beast is destroyed, to possess all, but comes to his end. In verse 5 of Isa. 10 we read— “O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is my indignation!” After giving the various instruments which God has used to chasten Israel, he comes to the last and terrible invader. That was God's indignation against the rebellious people (the indignation describing the last terrible visitation of God). Compare Isaiah 26:20, 21, with Dan. 11:36, the last words of which are also a technical expression for the short work which God will, at the end, make on the earth, as in Dan. 9:27, and this chapter Isa. 10 verse 23 (compare Isa. 28:22). If you look now at the 23th verse, you will see what will make the force of it quite clear, “For yet a very little while and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction.” That is, the whole judgment of God on Israel—His indignation—is closed in the destruction of the Assyrian.
Now, beloved friends, we will turn to chap. 30 of Isaiah; but before we do so, let us just in passing look at the passage I have referred to in chap. 28:14, 15, 16, “Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule His people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, we have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement, when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us; for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves. Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” That is, they made, as we have seen, a covenant with the power of evil, but to no purpose. But the remnant who trusted the Lord and counted in His promise, though not yet delivered nor knowing redemption as we do, yet looking, through the testimony then given, to the Son of man, the Branch whom Jehovah had made so strong for Himself at any rate the wise ones of Daniel and all true-hearted ones, resting on such testimonies as this and Isa. 8, did not make haste or join the Antichrist, while as to the mass the hopes they had put in him and the beast are confounded, and the scourge of this invader flows through.
Afterward at the end, as we see in the following chapter 29, it is exactly the opposite (verses 4-7;) the enemies who were ready to devour are destroyed.
Now look at the end of chapter 30, and you will find this enemy and his end. “For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod. And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the LORD shall lay upon him, it shall be with tarbets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it. For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king [or, as I believe, “also for the king"] it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large; the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.” The grounded staff is God's decreed rod. When this is laid on the Assyrian, it is the source of joy and triumph because of deliverance, the end of the indignation.
Turn now to chapter 5 of Micah where we shall see the connection of Christ with the judgment of the Assyrian and the subsequent blessing of Israel. Nothing so laid hold of a Rabbi I was conversing with, as this passage (verses 1-9.) “Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us; they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth; then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land; and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people, as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people, as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep; who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.”
The rejected Christ is now to be great to the ends of the earth. He is the peace, secures the peace of Israel when the Assyrian (their last rod whose destruction puts an end to the indignation) is in the land. He will at first tread in Israel's palaces; but at the end Messiah's power destroys him; and Israel will be as a lion among the Gentiles, though as the dew of divine blessing also. The enemies of the Lord will be cut off. He will judge fully rebellious Israel, indeed, but execute vengeance and fury upon the heathen such as they have not heard. At this time remark the Jews are owned, seen in their land and judged as the people of God there.
Daniel, we have seen, is occupied with the Gentiles when Israel is in captivity, and Jerusalem and the land desolate. He brings all these powers to an end but never takes up the consequent blessing. His subject is the times of the Gentiles.
Ezekiel does exactly the contrary. He goes, himself a captive, up to the taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and goes then right over to the end when Israel would be restored and the enemies go up against them in their land. We will turn now to his prophecy where you will find largely developed this other great power. Chap. 38: 1-2, “and the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophecy against him.” The chief prince of Meshech, properly interpreted prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and then follow the names of countries which agree with the names of those of the present day under the influence of Rosh (Russia). You will remark that, in the two preceding chapters 36 and 37., you have the restoration of the people and divine revival of Israel. Now, when restored and quiet in the land, Cog comes up against them (38:8) to plunder and possess the land, but it is that the heathen may know Jehovah when He is sanctified in Gog before their eyes (verse 16.) They will then know by His judgments that He is Jehovah (23). In ch. 39 God leaves a sixth part of them, and when judgment is thus executed, God's holy name is known in the midst of His people Israel. He will not let them pollute His holy name any more, “And the heathen shall know that I am Jehovah, the Holy one in Israel.” He then calls on all the fowls of the air to come and feast on the slaughtered victims whom He has slain for a sacrifice: so many are they that it is seven months before the land is clean. This also is the one of whom He has spoken in old times by His servants the prophets, the Assyrian of the last days, in whom as these chapters plainly show, the indignation ceases.
Chapter 38:14-20. “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord God: in that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company and a mighty army. And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land. It shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. Thus saith the Lord God: Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them? And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken. Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; so that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heavens, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.”
Chap. 39:1-8. “Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus said the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel. And I will smite thy how out of thy left hand, and will cause in the arrows to fall out of thy right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God. And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles. And they shall know that I am the Lord. So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord God; this is the day whereof I have spoken.” Ver. 21, 22. “And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hands that I have laid upon them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day and forward.” Ver. 28, 29. “Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them; for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God.”
I get here this other fundamental principle, when Israel is restored, then the heathen themselves, judged that it may be so, understand that Jehovah, the God of Israel, is the Most High over all the earth, and submit to Him You will see how Psa. 8 expresses this: “O Jehovah our Lord,” says. Israel, when Christ is set up, not simply as Son of David, according to Psa. 2, which will indeed now be accomplished, but as Son of Man, “how excellent is thy name in all the earth.” This is the prayer of Psa. 67 I should multiply quotations too much, were I to quote all the Psalm which speak of this. I will allude to a remarkable series—Psa. 94 to 100. Psa. 94 calls for judgment; 95 summons Israel to repentance; 96 the heathen are called to own Jehovah, for He is coming to judge the world in righteousness; in 97 He is actually coming in clouds; in 98 the Lord is come and has made known His salvation; in 99 He is known upon the earth again, and is sitting between the cherubim; and 100 calls on all nations to come and worship Him now that His throne is set up on earth for blessing. The cry for vengeance and deliverance is the cry of the remnant from the time of God's bringing back the people till His sitting on the throne of judgment. He will send deliverance by power. The throne of iniquity will not share the power with Him. Now, grace calls souls from the evil to come to God and go to heaven, and grace characterizes the Christian though he knows vengeance will come.
I have now gone through the passages which give us the history of the beast, and a sufficient number of those which speak of the Assyrian, to have a distinct idea of these two powers, now concentrated in Western and Eastern Europe. Zechariah never speaks of the Assyrian, He belonged to the captivity of Israel, though the Jews were restored that Messiah might be presented to them. But the post-captivity prophets do not call the Jews God's people unless speaking of their future; and the other prophets, those before the captivity, never speak of the beast as such, because Israel was owned, God's throne still there. Ezekiel, we have seen, goes over from Babylon to Israel again in the land. We have more directly to say to the beast because the time is going on in which they rule: only that in result it becomes open rebellion. There is a raising up of the beast from a seemingly fatal wound in an utterly diabolical character. God has put into the hearts of a little remnant of the Jews then to look to Him. But the nation blossoms and buds and seems as if it was beginning a time of full prosperity in its own land. But then it is bruised and eaten down, the resort of beast and birds of prey. These are judged and Israel is received and blessed. And if, says the apostle, the falling of them away be the riches of the Gentiles, what shall the receiving of them be but life from the dead to the world.
All this calls our hearts, beloved, to a far more divine apprehension that our portion is in heaven while Christ is rejected, and that Christ having been rejected Christians are, and that Christ being in heaven their conversation or citizenship is there also. No living here anymore, though we pass through it as pilgrims and strangers. What I have to do is to convince the world that there is a power which delivers from it to manifest Christ and Christ's motives in it. If ye do well and suffer for it and take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. The danger for the saints now is that instead of seeing evil going and rising up to a head against the Lord, man is thinking of improving the world and bringing in good. What is before us is that in the last days perilous times shall come. But men are wise in their own conceits and fancy they will do better than Christ and the Apostles—not make Christians for God, but improve the earth. The testimony of God is that the professing church and the world are both ripening up to evil and that the Lord is coming to receive us to Himself, and to judge the habitable earth in righteousness, and reign for its blessing, and primarily over the restored Jewish people.

David and Solomon

1 Chron. 21, 2 Chron. 5; 6
David is convicted, brought to hope, established in the sense of deliverance. Affections suited to these conditions mark his spirit. But when established, he is as personally devoted as when hoping (21:4, and 22, 29), and this is beautiful. Also, when established, he holds to the place consecrated by redemption. (21:28-30). These two points appear still in souls brought where David was.
Solomon was introduced to further truths, as God's delight in grace, and in the bold faith which enjoys it; for the glory fills the house, where mercy was rejoicing, and where the people were triumphing in it. Solomon accepts it, and seems as one overwhelmed at this disclosure of divine joy.

The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved

I have been just feeling that I can fully enjoy the truth which these words convey. And I would cherish such an experience and ask the Lord to fix and enlarge it.
It is far from intimating that one is more interested than another in the grace or salvation of God, or loved with a more faithful and enduring love. But it does intimate that there may be a more personal attachment between the Master and some of His disciples, than between Him and others. All, I may say, sat at supper with Him, while only one leaned on His bosom. All continued with Him in His temptations, and are to receive the kingdom together, but only three were in the garden, or on the holy hill with Him. For there is more personal oneness of thought and feeling in some than in others, more of that which, as among ourselves, draws the willing heart along.
If I look at a brother whose way savors much of that which I know Jesus must delight in, being weak, and self-renouncing, and unaffectedly humble, and withal devoted and unworldly, I may remember John, and see that disciple whom Jesus loved reflected in my brother. But then, how happy is it to remember that John himself was but one of a company whom the same Jesus had chosen and called, and bound to Himself forever. Did John exclude Thomas or Bartholomew? Thomas or Bartholomew, in the great evangelic sense, were as much to Christ as John. The one was not a whit a more accepted man than the others.
This is sure and blessed, as well as plain and simple. I may rejoice in it with all certainty. And if I have any love to Him who has called me to such assured and eternal blessedness, will I not rejoice in this, that He has an object in which He can take more delight than I must well know I and my way can afford Him?
Thus do I find reasons for enjoying that sentence, again and again repeated, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” and for delighting also in the thought that such a truth finds its illustration among the saints now, as it did in the midst of the apostles in earlier days.
The love with which we have to do is too perfect to be partial. It does not act irregularly or carelessly. We are all the objects of it. Thomas is not neglected because John is thus loved. But because this love is real, it is moved in this way by a John. But when I see a John leaning on Jesus while I myself am at a distance, let me have grace to look still and to say, “It is good for me to be here.” If I am not in the same experience, still it is blessed to enjoy the thought that another is there. Peter was gladdened by the vision of a glory in Moses and Elias, though it was all beyond him. So is my happy and thankful spirit to entertain the thought of my more heavenly brother pressing the bosom of our common Lord.

A Few Words on Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon

In the Book of Ecclesiastes we get the man Solomon the wisest of monarchs, seeking out that good under the sun with which man may satisfy himself. He goes to prove his heart with mirth and folly and wisdom, with learning, philosophy, natural history, music, wine, wealth, and the special delights of kings His wisdom, too, remains with him. God allows him, as it were, to try what is to be found on earth. And what does it all come to? Just this: “all is vanity and vexation of spirit; vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
In the Song of Solomon we get another thing—the soul satisfied with one object only, desirous to grasp it more largely and to enter into it more fully. That object is CHRIST, the object of the soul's affections. If we have but one object, we shall be satisfied with His goodness and loving-kindness, and we shall seek only to know its fullness. If it be said, “Well, I want to experience that the world cannot satisfy,” I answer that Solomon has far more experience than you ever can have: he fully tried it, and all is vanity and vexation of spirit. But as in Song of Solomon when the soul is satisfied with one object, and that object is Christ, all is peace and satisfaction: “I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.”

The Effect

People often confound the effect produced on man, the effect which makes him own the truth and the authority of the word, with a judgment passed by man upon this word, as upon a matter submitted to him. Never could the word be thus presented as subject to human judgment: it would be to deny its own nature; it would be to say that it is not God who speaks. Could God say that he is not God? If this cannot be no more could he speak and admit that his word has not its own authority

Notes of a Lecture on Ephesians 1

AT the last lecture I mentioned that the two Epistles in which the second coming of the Lord is not spoken of are the Galatians and the Ephesians. It may seem strange that, this being the case, I should have selected on this occasion the chapter we have just read. But I have done so, (and shall refer to other passages with the same intention, desiring to found all I say upon Scripture) because that chapter gives us a general view of the whole scheme and plan that will be fully accomplished at the second coming of our Lord. It does not speak of the fact of Christ's coming, but it does tell of the purpose which God has, and that will then be accomplished. And not only that, but it shows us the way in which the church of God (I mean all true saints gathered to Christ by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven) at the coming of Christ have a portion or part in it—what their place in this great plan of God is, that plan having necessarily for its center the exaltation of the Son, “the brightness of God's glory.” He was humbled to be exalted.
The way in which God has dealt with us, beloved friends, is this—He has brought us completely to Himself, having respect to the whole value of Christ's work; and, in doing that, He has given us a place with Christ makes us like Christ; and, having thus made us near to Himself, He then unfolds to us all His plans. It is not merely being made safe, but, being brought as children to God: “all things are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's.” But then, having done that, He treats you—as His expression is to Abraham, and as Christ's expression is to His disciples—as friends. The Lord says, “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” And what He then told Him. was not merely that he personally was in His favor—that He told him long before. He does not merely show him the promises which belonged to him and his seed. But He told him too what concerned the world, and did not immediately concern himself. This was the special mark of friendship.
If I am dealing with a man with whom I am on good terms, but not on terms of friendship, I tell him whatever is needed with regard to the business between us, according to the common courtesies of life; and there it ends. But if I have a friend, I tell him what is in my heart. This is what God does with His children—as Christ said to His disciples, “Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what His Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
And there is not a greater proof of the extent to which the church has lost its conscious identity with Christ, than its giving up its expectation of the coming of Christ. And why is that, but because there are so many whose hearts do not enter into this thought, that God has brought them so near to Himself that they are considered as having been taken into His family? “Sons and daughters,” the expression is, and sons and daughters too of full age. That was not their position under the law. Therefore it is said that “the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant though he be lord of all. But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father.” And, because you have the Spirit, because you have an unction from the Holy one, you know all things, having the consciousness of being sons of God, sons of full age, so as to possess the confidence of the Father.
And the same Spirit, who is the Spirit of adoption, unfolds to us all the things which are freely given to us of God. “It is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” And there people generally stop; whereas the apostle goes on to say, in order to show the difference between that and our state, “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the timings which are freely given to us of God.” Now is it not a strange thing that people should quote that passage which declares that man's heart hath not conceived the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him, and should pass over the declaration which follows, and which contrasts the position of Christians, saying God had revealed them unto them, and given them the Spirit to enable them to understand them? And is it not a sorrowful thing, when the Lord hath put us in such a place that He confides to us, (poor creatures as we are,) in a certain sense, the glory of Christ, having confided to us all His thoughts about Christ, that we should say, “Oh! we cannot pretend to such things as that?” I will not say it is ingratitude—it is worse, it is dishonoring the love God has shown to us. Suppose a child were to say, “I do not pretend to the confidence of my father; I do not want that; I am simply willing to obey him,” I would say to such a one, “you are a very unhappy child, extremely unhappy; you do not know what a child's place is.”
It is just that which the apostle brings out in this chapter. He first speaks (although 1 do not dwell upon that now—not that it is not precious: I thought, while reading, how sweet it was) he speaks in the early part of the chapter of the place in which we are set before God— “that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved; in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” You are brought into God's likeness of righteousness and holiness before God— “holy and without blame before him in love.” You are brought into the place of sons, having the adoption of children, and you have got the forgiveness of your sins and are accepted in the beloved Himself. That is the place you are brought into: there is no other place for a Christian. And now, says the Lord, having put you there, I am going to tell you what my plan is for Christ's glory and your glory along with him. He says, wherein—that is, in “the riches of his grace” — “he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in Himself; that in the dispensation of the fullness of times” He hath not only given us this redemption, so that we know where we are in our relationship to God, but, being in this relationship, has shown us all this of his plan— “that in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him.”
Mark where we are connected with it: “in whom also we have obtained an inheritance.” We are heirs, as the apostle says to the Romans— “heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.” That is, God says, I am going to give all to Christ; I am to gather together in one all things which are in heaven and on earth in Him; and with Him you are joint heirs—with Him you have got the inheritance. That is the way in which the chapter presents to us the purpose and thought of God.
Now just look at various passages which show how He brings this about, and the way in which, beloved friends, He will take us to put us into the inheritance. For it is for this we are waiting. We are not waiting to be heirs, but we are waiting for the inheritance. We are not waiting to be sons—we are all the children of God through faith in Christ Jesus; but we are waiting to get what belongs to the sons. Poor earthen vessels that we are here, in the wilderness, we are waiting for that. He has given us “the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.” That is, the glory of His grace we have got, the redemption; but the glory we have not got—this we are waiting for.
Such is the order of his prayer withal: our calling our nearness to God; our inheritance, that is, everything of which we are heirs along with Christ; and, then, there is the power which brings us into it—that is, the very same power which raised Christ from the dead has raised every believer out of his state of death in sin to the same place with Christ. And, having brought them into one, at the end he shows us the place to which Christ is raised— “at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.”
This enables us to see a little of the way in which God accomplishes His plan, and it was to show what that plan is that I read this chapter— “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth” —under Christ as the Head. But when Christ takes this place as man—of course as God He is over all always—but when He takes this place as man, we take the inheritance along with Him. We are joint-heirs— “in whom also we have obtained an inheritance.” And, again in Romans, “if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.”
Now the principle of that is what many Christians sadly unmindful of, having lost the consciousness of the way in which they have been brought by God into the same place as Christ, who became a man on purpose to bring us into the same place with Himself. “The glory which thou gavest me I have given them.” If He is a Son, so are we. He is our life, our righteousness; and we share His glory, the fruit of righteousness. When He was transfigured, Moses and Elias appeared in the same glory, talking familiarly with Him. And we should consider that the Lord has come down in lowliness and humiliation amongst us, that our hearts might get neat enough to Him to understand that.
Having got the plan then, we shall now go through some passages of Scripture to show how the Lord brings it about. If you will turn to Psa. 2 you will see the way in which the Lord was first presented on earth to have the earthly dominion, and was rejected, we shall see immediately how the two things are connected. “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against His anointed.” This is quoted by Peter with reference to Herod and Pilate, &c. “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in derision.” That is, Christ Himself shall have them in derision. “Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure.” This is not come yet. “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion” —in spite of all this rejection— “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possessions. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” These judgments, of course, are not come yet.
And now, as confirmatory of what I have just said, let me ask you to turn to the Book of Revelation, at the end of the second chapter, to show the way in which we are connected with Christ. He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers; even as I received of my Father.” I refer to this now for the purpose of showing that even in such things the saints are connected with Christ, although these, of course, are not the most blessed things in which they are connected with Him It is said immediately afterward; “and I will give him the morning star” —Christ Himself; and this is infinitely more precious. But still He associates them with Himself in all His glory. He receives these heathen for His inheritance and breaks them in pieces; and so shall you with Him, if you are faithful.
It is strange to see how the Church of God has lost the sense of all things; and I refer to these passages to show how the saints are associated with Christ, even with reference to those extreme cases. “Do ye not know,” says Paul to the Corinthians, “that the saints shall judge the world.” He tells them just to think of that, and then to consider whether they were not worthy “to judge the smallest matter,” (speaking of saints going to law with one another.) Are you not able, any of you, to settle the commonest things between yourselves— “know ye not that we shall judge angels?” It was necessary to tell them this, because they had not got hold of a right understanding of the place in which Christ has put the saints, because they did not see their association with Christ, in all the fullness of its meaning. I have referred to this association with Christ in judgment, not at all because it is the most blessed part of it, but as confirmatory of what I have said about the association of the saints with Christ.
Observe that the second Psalm speaks of Christ's coming and being rejected. Peter quotes it in that view and Paul also the words, “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” And, being rejected, the Lord (that is, Christ) is there represented as laughing—which is of course a figure—at all the raging of the nations; and it is said that the time will come when He will sit in Zion in spite of them all, and have all the world given Him for His inheritance. This, however, does not present Him in the place, in which the New Testament largely represents Him. Here He is only connected with the fate of the Jews, and the judgment of the heathen and rebels at the time of the end.
At His first coming, He was rejected as Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed. And mark what light this throws even upon the Gospel. We find Christ charging His disciples strictly that they should no more say He was the Christ, because He was to be rejected, for “the son of man,” He says, “shall suffer many things.” It was, as if He had said— “I am not now to take my place as King of Zion. I come in another way. I come to be the suffering Son of man, in order that I may afterward take a far higher place of glory.” You find accordingly in Luke and the other gospels, that He strictly charges His disciples not to say that He was the Christ, because that was really over, in consequence of His being rejected. Now take the eighth Psalm— “O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who has set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength, because of thine enemies; that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.” This, you know, was fulfilled, when He rode upon the ass's colt into Jerusalem. “What is man, that thou art mindful of him, and the Son of man that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands: thou hast put all things under his feet.” It is there intimated that, though as Christ He was rejected, the consequence of His being rejected was that He takes His place as Son of man, in which He was to have everything put under His feet. You will see how the apostle reasons on that in the New Testament.
These two Psalms show His coming among the Jews, and being rejected, and yet His taking His place over these rebels in spite of them at the end. But the present consequence of His rejection is that He takes the place which he always gives Himself in the Gospels of being the Son of Man. Coming to the New Testament, you will find this eight Psalm is quoted in the chapter I have just read from the Ephesians, “He hath put things under His feet” and, being in that place, “gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body.” The church is His body, making the complete man, and is therefore said to be “the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.” —Christ is a divine person, though a man, and fills all things, but it is the church which makes Him, as the Son Of man, complete, makes up what is called the mystical Christ of which He is the head, all the members of the church making up His body.
The church, therefore, is as closely associated with Him, as a man's own flesh is with himself. This is the comparison employed in Eph. 5, “No man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church; for we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.” And in this body there being but one Spirit, the Church is associated with Christ as taking the headship over everything. We see Christ, the Son of Man, in the counsels of God set over everything in heaven and on earth; and we, as being close to Him, His redeemed ones, His brethren, joint-heirs, and members of His body, are completely identified, with Him in His place of headship. You thus see the connection of the Church with Christ's glory at His second coming.
You find the same thing in the second of the Hebrews, where the apostle, referring to the eight Psalm, shows how far it is accomplished “But one, in a certain place, testified, saying, What is man that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; Thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands. Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.” That time is not yet come. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor.” Mark what we have got here. Here is God's purpose of putting everything in subjection under Christ without any exception—there is nothing excepted that is not put under Him. In fact He created it all, and therefore is heir of it all. But the point is this, that what He created as God, He takes for an inheritance as man, in order that we might take it with Him; but that time is not come yet. We do not see all things put under Him, but we do see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor; we see that half accomplished, but not the other half; we do not see all things put under him. This is what the apostle states, and the reason of it we get in Psa. 110 which the apostle also quotes in the Hebrews, and to which the Lord Himself appealed in reasoning with the Pharisees on this very matter. “The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” And therefore in Heb. 10 the apostle says, “He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” —that is, the work of their redemption — “from henceforth expecting till his enemies he made his footstool,” till they are all put under his feet by God.
I shall have another opportunity of referring to that. But I am speaking now of the blessed assurance it is to the saints, that Christ is sitting at the right hand of God until, and expecting till, His enemies are made His footstool. They are not made His footstool yet.
If they were, He would not allow matters to go on in the world as they do now. It is another thing which God is doing now. He is gathering out His joint-heirs, and, having this purpose, He says—Sit thou at my right hand until the time when thine enemies shall be made thy footstool. As to the question when that time shall be, “that day and hour knoweth no man, not even the Son.” But it is said to the Son—Sit thou at my right hand till that time is revealed.
We have the plan then as clearly set forth as language can put it. We see Jesus, when He has by Himself purged our sins, “set on the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens,” and then by the gospel, gathering out His joint heirs. And we are associated with Him, while He is there at the right hand of God, associated with Him as united to Him by the one Spirit.
If you will turn now to another passage, 1 Cor. 15, you will see the way in which we get this place of glory at the resurrection, all things being under His feet. “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order, Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christ's at his coming” —those that are His heirs, they and nobody else. “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all thing are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted which did put all things under him.” That is, God the Father is not put under him, but that very exception proves in the strongest way that everything else is—God the Father being alone excepted.
But it is said, we do not see that yet. Do you think that all the oppression and wars and wickedness and horrors which now mark the history of the earth, would go on if everything was now put under Him? It is Satan, and not Christ, who is now the prince and God of this world. It is strange how many people fancy that the cross put an end to that. It was exactly the contrary. The cross was the one grand demonstration-and there never was such a demonstration before—that Satan is the prince and God of this world. “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me,” said our Savior. Until Christ had been rejected, Satan was never called the prince of this world. Before that, Jehovah was on the earth, and in the temple was the Shekinah of glory. But when at last He came into this world in the person of Christ, and the world rejected Him, then from that time Satan is the prince of this world. And it is after that, that the apostle says, “In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.” When the Lord comes again, He will be the prince of the world, but, till He comes again, Satan is that prince.
If you will now look to Luke 19 you will see how the Lord Himself puts it, when He speaks of the invisible God, the first born of every creature; for by him” —this is the reason why He is set over all things— “by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him and for him” He is to take them all under subjection, but not in this state of wickedness in which they are now. “We see not yet all things put under Him.”
And how does He take them? He takes them as a man— “whom he hath appointed heir of all things,” (Heb. 1:2), and we are appointed joint heirs with Him, as the Scripture tells us. You will see, therefore, how the second part comes in. “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” —that is, because He is a divine person— “And be is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the first born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.” He has this double headship, which is also brought together in the chapter of Ephesians I was reading—head over all things, and head to the church. “By him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things, in earth or things in heaven. And you that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, in the body of his flesh through death.” “Hath reconciled,” —it is always hath, as regards the saints. It is not said “He will reconcile,” but “hath reconciled.”
But the reconciliation of all things in heaven and earth is future, because Satan is not yet bound. Even Christianity itself has been corrupted in the most awful way, because Satan is not bound; and the corruptest thing in the whole universe is corrupted Christianity. The apostle says— “by him to reconcile all things unto himself, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven,” or, as it is in the Ephesians, “to gather together in one all things in Christ” —but he does not say he has done that yet. Nor does he speak at all of those who are under the earth. When he talks of subjection, of everything bowing to Him, it is said, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” Of these things he does not say “reconcile” but “bow;” “but you,” he says “hath He reconciled.”
You thus see the truth about the double headship of Christ, His being Head of the Church, and His being Head over all things; and then the double reconciliation, the present reconciliation and redemption of the Church through grace, and then the reconciliation of all things in heaven and in earth. Now we see not yet all things put under Him, but we see Him by faith, sitting at the right hand of God, until His enemies are made His footstool. And when that time comes, and they are all put under Him, He will take possession, according to the character given to God in the appellation used by Melchisedec when he came out to bless Abraham— “The most High God, possessor of heaven and earth;” and when Christ becomes in all its fullness the King and Priest upon His throne, God will have that title going into a far country to get the kingdom, and there receiving it, and then returning and executing the judgments to which he refers. “As they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.” They were looking for this, and fancied that, instead of His being rejected as He was, they would get the kingdom with Him in an earthly way directly. “He said therefore, a certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.” That is the service of Christians, while the Lord is away. He has gone away to receive the kingdom, and has not returned yet. Then He judged the servants when he came back. “And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded those servants to be called unto him,” and begins to take account of their service. And then, that being finished, he says, “But those mine enemies which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” This is after He has received the kingdom and come back again.
He does not judge while He is away. It is said, “The Father hath committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father.” But, if He was to begin to judge now, He would have to close the time of grace and the gathering in of the church. The Father judges the saints, but it is in the way of discipline” If ye call on the Father, who, without respect of persons, judgeth according to every man's work.” But, as regards definite judgment, it is said in John, “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the son.” When the Son returns, He will take notice of His enemies and execute judgment upon them. But meanwhile He has gone away to receive the kingdom, and has not returned. When He does, He will not allow all this wickedness which we now see, to go on. But for the present, this is the time when we must watch in faithfulness, occupying till He come, and trading properly with those talents, the spiritual gifts He has given us.
You will find this remarkably brought out, if you turn to Col. 1. I wish to dwell a little on this, that we may get to as full an understanding as possible of the thoughts and scope and plan of God, which seem to me to be very plainly set forth in Scripture. Begin at the 12th verse, which shows where we, (I mean all believers) are “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet.” He hath made us meet—that is all settled. You will always find this in Scripture; you will not find anything there about growing to be meet; it speaks about growing up to Christ in everything, but this is a different thing. “Which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son; who is the. image We come then to the next thing, which I will just state—I do not know how far we may be able to go through it this evening. Taking these two statements, that He is to reconcile everything in heaven and earth, and again, that He is to gather together, in one, all things which are both in heaven and on earth, we also see, in several of the passages which I have quoted, that the Church, or the saints who compose it, are joint-heirs with Him. What I have been seeking to show you, is, that the Church of God (all the saints whom in this present time God is gathering by His grace in the Gospel) are being associated with Christ, as the center of blessing, that they get the central place with Himself, under whom all possible existences are to be placed. But the time for this which the Scripture speaks of is when Christ receives the kingdom and returns, when the dispensation of the fullness of times comes. Then everything will be brought into order and blessedness under the authority of Christ. When God the Father has put everything under His feet, He will bring everything into order, and will then deliver up His kingdom. But the central thing during the dispensation of the fullness of times in the heavenly places will be the Church, and the central thing in earthly places will be the Jews.
This brings in what are the two great subjects of Holy Scripture, after personal redemption. The Church is that in which He displays sovereign grace, bringing its members to share the glory of Christ. The Jews are those in whom He reveals as a center, the government of this world. These are the two great subjects in Scripture, after personal salvation. The Scripture speaks of the Church of God, as those who are associated with Christ, who are the heirs of Christ's glory. But the moment we say that, we cannot but think how wondrous it is that poor wretched creatures like us should be brought into the same glory with Christ—should be brought into the same place with Himself. And the work of reconciliation is to embrace all things in heaven and on earth.
This world is not to remain forever the sporting place and play-ground of the devil. That will not be allowed forever. The Son of David will yet have His place in it, and His glory too, as its ruler, and the world will then be altered. “None shall hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain.” There is a time coming when Christ will he the Prince of Peace. He has declared positively that this is not at the present time. “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth; I tell you nay; but rather division. For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother, &c.” That is, this is the time when the bringing in the light awakens the passions of men, and, until Christ's second coming puts them down, they continue their raging.
And Christians now have to take up the cross and follow Him. Do you think if Christ was reigning, His followers would only have the cross? Why, they would have the crown. We are positively told that our part is the cross. We must now take it up every day. But, when Christ reigns, that will not be the part of His people. He will “come to be glorified in His saints,” and a glorious place they will get, when He comes to reign.
When this time comes, to gather together all things in one, the Church of God will be the center of all things in heavenly places, and the Jews the center of all things on earth, Christ being the head over all. That is what we find stated in the chapter of Ephesians which we have read— “That ye may know what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward, who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this world but in that which is to come” —the time namely of which we are speaking— “And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is His body.”
It is the same power which raises the saints, and so, in the next chapter, he says, speaking of it now as already got spiritually— “and hath raised up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of His grace, in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” —God, in setting us over angels and principalities and powers in the world to come, showing the exceeding riches of His grace in the place he has given to us, in His kindness towards us. This, beloved friends, is what I have been anxious to show you, by bringing before you these various passages, that thus in the ages to come God is going to show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward you. Angels are going to learn the immense riches of God's grace—and how? By our being made partakers of the glory of Christ, in God's kindness to us through Christ Jesus—so that, when they see Mary Magdalene, the thief on the cross, the woman of the city that was a sinner, any one of us, in the same place of glory with Christ, they may admire the exceeding riches of His grace. Laying hold of this even now by faith in the teaching of God's Spirit, although we have not got all the fruits of it as yet, we may find our present place very profitable in the way of discipline, and exercise, and spiritual education, still its full development is in the future, when God's kindness to us shall be shown to the angels.
And now let me try to show you a little the way in which the Lord brings us into this place of association with Himself. And first I will refer you to the passage in ch. 17 of John's Gospel, where the Savior states the fact, that the saints share with Him His glory, and the love of the Father. A wonderful passage it is, as showing that love of Christ which passeth knowledge. “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” This refers to the present time, or at least to what ought to be the case in the present time. And then He goes on to the time to come. “And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may [not believe, but may] know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” All the glory Thou hast given me, He says—that is, the glory He takes as man, for as a divine person His glory was eternal—I have given them, and this, that the world, when they see My people like Me, and having the same glory as Myself, may know that Thou hast sent Me. It is not believe; this is spoken with reference to the present time. Saints should be one now, as a testimony that there is a power in the Spirit of God which overcomes all fleshly differences. Alas! that is not so. This too is a precious subject, but I must pass it over just now, confining myself to the one I am more immediately dealing with. Of the present time it is said, “that the world may believe;” of the future, “that the world may know.” “The glory which thou gavest me, I have given them, that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me.” They will know it plainly enough for their condemnation, for the condemnation of those who are rebels, when they see those whom they have been accustomed to despise, coming with Christ in glory.
Now do you believe this, beloved friends? Our hearts ought to know and recognize that love. Not fathom it, for that they cannot do, but confide in it, and to that extent know it, although it passes knowledge. And, as you see, the time is coming when the world too will know that love of God to us. We pass on to verse 25— “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee; but I have known thee, and these have known that Thou has sent Me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” That is the present good we enjoy—that the love wherewith Christ is loved should be in us—that we should have it in our souls. No one can fathom it: it passes knowledge; but still we are to have it and to know it, and that by Christ being in us. I am not to wait, till the world sees I am with Christ in glory, to know it myself; for the Father now loves me as He has loved Christ.
If you turn again to the Corinthians 15, you will see this same truth brought out in its relation to the resurrection. The point I am now to impress upon you is, that Scripture shows us these two things—that we are to be like Him, completely like Him, save that He is a divine person; and that the time we shall be like Him is when we shall be raised from the dead. It is then we shall appear with Him. We are not of the world now, but it is said that the world will only know that we have been loved as Christ was loved, when they see us in the same place of glory with Him, when the Lord takes us up to be with Him and to put us in this glory; so that when He appears to the world we shall appear along with Him in the same glory.
The fact that it is so that we shall so appear with Him in the same glory, we have seen already from various passages which I quoted on the last occasion, but I shall refer you to some more particularly. At the forty-seventh verse of 1 Cor. 15, it is said, “the first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy” —all like to their father Adam; “and, as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly,” that is like what Christ is, not speaking of His divinity— “and as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” We shall be like Him, we shall be just the same as Himself. He does not say merely that we shall be there, in heaven, but like Him. But first, “as is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy” —that is, like Adam, poor, wretched sinners, mortal creatures, like him; whereas, “as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.” This is the full absolute statement of the fact. Then he adds, with respect to the fact of the glory—putting it of course as in the future, not having yet come— “as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly;” and he goes on, “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” As it is said before, “it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory.”
Now let us refer to some of the passages which show how Christ receives us to Himself. I follow the teachings of scripture throughout, that we may get solidly grounded in what Christ communicates to us. He says, “In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also.” He has gone into His Father's house, but He will come again and receive us to Himself, that where He is there we may he also. He was going up then with a body, going up glorious, not as yet having all things under His feet, but crowned with glory and honor, and He says to His disciples—you must wait and occupy till I come again. But now, before He comes, we see what He is to do with us who are in the same glory— “I will come again and receive you unto myself,” as He said in the previous chapter, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” It was as if he had said—I cannot stay with you, as King and Messiah now, but I am washing you that ye may be fit to reign with Me when I come again. I am, therefore, still your servant in the sense of intercession and the like, and by my all-prevailing intercession, I will wash you daily, because if you are to have a part with Me in my kingdom, you must be made like myself.
In like manner, we get what may be called the public announcement of this in the fourth chapter of 1st Thessalonians— “Them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord.” See how the apostle constantly expected the coming of the Lord. Some people have boldly dared to say that Paul made a mistake in expecting the coming of the Lord in his day. It is they who are making an awful mistake. It was never revealed when Christ would come, and Paul did not pretend to know it. But he knew that that time had come when we should always be expecting Him, instead of saying my Lord delayeth His coming, and beginning therefore to eat and drink with the drunken, and to beat the men-servants and the maid-servants. It was, therefore, that Paul put himself in this class, “we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord.” And what was the effect of that? He lived like a man who expected Christ every day, and when Christ comes, he will get the fruit of that, while those people who put off the expectation of Christ's coming, and do not wait for it, allowing their hearts to go out after covetousness and such like things, will also get the fruit of their so doing.
The time of the second coming of Christ is declared not to be revealed. Paul got a revelation that he should soon die, and he knew it. Peter also got a revelation that he must shortly put off this tabernacle, and of course knew it. But it was not revealed to them when Christ should come. Therefore Paul says, “we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,” Christ having overcome death. We may all die before Christ's coming—no one knows the moment of it; still we may use the language— “we who are alive and remain at the coming of the Lord.” It is said of the man who thinks Christ is delaying his coming, that he turns to what is bad, smiting his fellow-servants, and eating and drinking with the drunken. And it is said, that while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept, the wise virgins as well as the foolish; that is, the Church lost a sense of the present expectation of Christ. Even the wise servants had to be waked up again, and it was a mercy to them to rouse them up in time, because to His people Christ is ever faithful. But it is the characteristic of the faithful servant that he is expecting, The church of Philadelphia was expecting the coming of Christ, and it is called the word of His patience— “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience,”
The passage in Thessalonians goes on— “We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first,” —nobody else; I shall dwell upon that at another time, but I just notice it now in passing. The shout, the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God, are not to be taken as the voice of God to all the world to raise the righteous and the wicked. “The shout” is a military term; whatever the precise term now equivalent to it, it is that which follows “stand at ease.” It was first used with reference to calling rowers in the trireme, and afterward as a military term. When soldiers are left to go about at their ease, and are then all suddenly called back into the ranks, it is the command given them for that purpose, to which the word “shout” here used is equivalent. But the only persons who hear it are “the dead in Christ,” Christ being represented as in this way gathering together His own troops. “The dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Here, then, we have the details of it. The Lord hath declared that he will come and receive us into Himself; and now the apostle, by the revelation given unto him, explains how it will be. He will come and call us up to meet the Lord in the air. The passage in 1 Corinthians, which I have already read, refers to the same thing, when it says, “afterward they that are Christ's at His coming.” “But every man in his own order, Christ the first fruits.” The specific thing here is, that it is not a resurrection of the dead, but a resurrection from among the dead. The raising of Christ was not a resurrection “of the dead,” simply, but a resurrection “from among the dead.” This was its whole character, a taking up from among the dead, and why? Because the Father's delight was in Him. And why are we in like manner taken up from among the dead? Because His delight is in us. And therefore at the proper time the Lord comes—(it is not said, appears)—and calls us up to be forever with the Lord, to take our place associated with Christ, partaking of that glory which you have already seen referred to in the words “as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”
But what we are called to expect is not to die—we may die, and a blessed thing it is too, to die; but what we are to look for and expect, is, as it is expressed in 2 Corinthians 5, “not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” That Christ's power over death may be fully shown, He takes to Himself mortal men, whether alive or dead: if alive, He changes them into glory without dying; if they are dead, He raises them. This is the first thing He does. He raises the dead first, and then the living are changed; and they go to meet the Lord in the air. He has predestinated us “to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren.” And, as we have seen, “the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them.” This then is our portion of heavenly things.
And, if you turn to Col. 3 you will see that, when Christ appears, we shall appear in this glory along with Himself and like Him. He will have already come and taken us up to Himself; and then He comes manifesting Himself to the world, and we appear with Him You will remember what I have before quoted, that the glory which was given Him, He hath given to us, that the world might know, &c. Now turning to Col. 3, and you will see how thoroughly the apostle identifies us with Christ. Look first at chapter 2:20, “If ye be dead with Christ.” Then, at the beginning of the third chapter, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.” He is hid in God; He is your life, and your life therefore is hid there. “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” When He appears, we shall appear with Him. There can be no separation. If He is hid in God, our life is hid in God. If he appears, we appear. If He appears in glory, we must appear in glory with Him. We are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.
You will see the same thing in the 1st Epistle of John—only the same truth comes out in different shapes— “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” —this, that we should get Christ's own name (what wonder of love is this that we should get Christ's own title of relationship)— “therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not” —showing that we have got the same place with Him He says, “I go to my Father, and your Father, to my God and your God” —I have accomplished your redemption and the effect or that is, that I have put you in the same place with Myself. “I will declare thy name unto my brethren in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” “Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.” It is no wonder that it does not recognize us, if it did not recognize Him. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God” —this is the present time— “and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”
Further, as to this appearing with Him, I shall now refer to the Book of Revelation; but, before doing that, you may turn for a moment to Zech. 14, where it is said the Lord shall come and all His saints with Him, and his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives. This is referred to by the angel, when, after Christ's ascension from Mount Olivet, he said to the disciples, “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Again in verse 14 of the epistle of Jude, you find— “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with myriads of his saints, to execute judgment upon all.” Here they are associated with Christ in the executing of judgments. “The Lord cometh with ten thousands” —properly myriads, that is, an immense number— “of his saints to execute judgment.” This shows how entirely we are associated with Christ. And what a place does not that put us in! Yet Scripture is so simple and plain upon the point, that it cannot be misinterpreted.
You will find the same truth in Thessalonians 1. I prefer quoting many passages to enlarging upon them, that our faith may stand, not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. The Thessalonians were suffering dreadful persecutions; and the apostle told them— “we glory in you in the Churches of God, for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure; which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer; seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you. And to you who are troubled, rest with us; when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with His mighty angels, in flaming fire, taken vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.” He comes with these ten thousands or myriads of His saints.
You find a distinct statement of their coming given in figure in the Revelation. At chap. 17 it is said— “These shall make war with the Lamb.” All the kings of the earth shall be found, not in blessing, joined with Christ, but in open war with the Lamb, joined with the beast. “These shall make was with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for He is the Lord of lords, and the King of kings; and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” Other passages show us that angels will be with Him, but it is not angels that are here spoken of as being with Him. The angels may be described as “faithful,” and “chosen,” because the Scripture speaks of the “elect” angels, but these that are with Him are the “called,” and it is the saints who are “called by the grace of God.” These “called” persons then who are with Him are the saints. Having seen who they are, turn now to chapter 19— “And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war.”
You have seen all through that He is coming to judge the wicked on the earth—a thing greatly forgotten, that there is a judgment of the quick as well as the dead. “As in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not, until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” “His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written that no man knew but he himself. And he was clothed in a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called the Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean” —which, he says elsewhere, is the righteousness of the saints. I close now, as regards the quotation of passages.
On the last occasion we found, running through the whole series of passages quoted, that the Lord's coming was the one thing kept before the Church as its hope in the Scripture, and that it connected itself with every kind of thought and feeling the saints had, that they were even looked upon as being converted to wait for the Son of God, that every other doctrine of Scripture was connected with it—that what marked a decaying church was the thought that “the Lord delayeth His coming,” and that what woke them up was the cry, “Behold the bridegroom cometh.”
Then to-night we have found that the Lord reveals to us with wisdom and prudence His plan, namely, “that he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth” —reconciling them all in Christ—not merely for their own selfish good, but as a plan for Christ's glory; and with this view He has associated us with Christ in the place He takes as head over all, so that being associated with Him as heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ, we have the inheritance with Him; that when He takes it we shall have it with Him; that, when He comes, we shall come with Him; that, whereas he was presented to the earth among the Jews, according to the promise of God, and they would not have Him, He then took another place, that of Son of Man, that place He will take in his resurrection and in His glory, and will raise us up to have it with Him when the time comes; and not we alone, but all saints will have it with Him; that we see not yet all things put under Him, but we do see Jesus crowned with glory and honor, and are waiting, as He is, till His enemies are made His footstool; that when that time comes—when it will be, nobody knows; God has not revealed it—the first thing He will do will be to have His body; He is not to be head without the body, but will catch us up to meet Him in the air; that, if dead, He will raise us, if alive He will change us, and take us up to meet the Lord in the air; that He will come and take us to His Father's house; that this is our place, and that he will have everything there in order for us—only He must have His heirs with Him; that He cannot take a step in entering on the possession of His inheritance, without having His heirs, His body, His bride with Him in the Revelation you first have the marriage of the Lamb, and then you see the Lamb coming out with His armies following Him. They are the bride—that is what they are—for the Lamb must have an associate with Him, a help-meet to share His inheritance. He has not yet taken to Himself His great power and reign. We see not yet all things put under Him. But when He comes He will take us up to be with Him, because we are perfectly associated with Him. When he appears, we shall appear with him. When He executes judgment, we shall accompany Him—that is, when He executes judgment on the world, breaking them with a rod of iron, and dashing them in pieces like a potter's vessel. That is anything but the blessedest part of our sharing His inheritance. The blessedest part is being with Him. But when He does appear, the world will see us with Him. He comes to raise the dead saints, and take them up to be with Himself, then when He appears we shall all appear with Him, and “shall bear” the image of the heavenly, as we have borne the image of the earthy.”
But meantime, while Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, He hath sent down the Holy Ghost to gather His heirs together. They must now carry the cross—when the kingdom comes, they will have the kingdom and the glory. But, until that time, while He is sitting at the right hand of God, His people must bear the cross, and it is only by the power of the Spirit of God that any one will follow him. Whatever glory He has, in the time of glory He associates us in it with Himself, and, as a consequence, we shall reign with Him—we who are now reconciled in Him. And when He comes again, He comes but not to judgment as regards us. “As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, and unto them that look for him shall He appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation.”
And now, beloved friends, I would only ask, with whom are you associated? Are you associated with Christ, rejected by the world, and now sitting at the right hand of God? Are you by the Holy Ghost in spirit associated with Christ? or are you associated with the world which He is coming again to judge, and all His saints with Him? With which are you associated, while Christ is away, having been rejected, and says, Occupy till I come, having gone to receive a kingdom and a glory far better than that from which He was rejected? With whom are you associated? You have to go through the world, you must go through it; do you really believe that Satan is the prince and god of this world, which has rejected Christ, and do you really live as if you believed this? Do you believe that Christ sitteth at the right hand of God, and that He will come again to receive you to Himself, to share with Him the same blessings as Himself in His Father's house, and to witness His Father's glory and to share His love? Are we doing anything to recommend Him? Is there that in our hearts, which is like the confiding love of a child to his father, that which shows we are sons by adoption? Is there anything in us which identifies us with those who are the heirs of that blessedness and glory? The world knew Him not; the world knows us not. Can we say that! Are we like Him in our place in the world? When Christ was in the world, they saw no beauty in Him that they should desire Him. How is it with us? Is it the things that are not seen, or the things that are seen, that have power in our hearts? Christ is not seen; does He dwell in our hearts by faith, so as to be our portion? If He does, then when he appears, we shall appear with him in glory, and better than that, shall be taken up to be forever with Him. Lord, give us to be able to wait for Him, and to be ever saying, “Even so come, Lord Jesus.” May we have all our treasure, and heart, and portion, associated and identified with Himself. A little while, yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry. He only knows how long will last the gathering of the saints to be with Him.

Even So, Come, Lord Jesus.

IT is thirty years ago and more since I first saw the doctrine of the second coming of the Lord. I saw it as the only solution of a thousand and one difficulties which man's mind had created, by attempting to limit the predictions about a glorified Messiah down to the range and circumstances of earth, while in man's hand and responsibility. It threw heavenly hopes and promises open, and also gave consistency to God's past and future dealings with the earth.
I took it up energetically and whole heartedly what banner better for pilgrimage and conflict than coming glory?—I held it as a choice and chosen banner, and was ready to suffer and endure for the hope's sake, and did so.
Thirty years are past: and where am I now as to it? Well, I will speak the truth. Thirty years of wilderness and conflict have made a change, a great change. After the experience I have had of self, and circumstances, and of God, I should sum all up in these few words—It is a very different thing to have the coming of Christ as one's choice, one's own. Self-welcomed tomorrow, and to find oneself where all is ruined within and around—failure upon failure—but in the presence of the God who has chosen the return of His Son as the time when He means fully to introduce us into the glory. He has prepared for us, as for those of whom He has said, I will be merciful to whom I will be merciful, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. I have less movement in the feelings of joy and hope, more calmness of repose and anticipation, less thought about the contrast between the thing hoped for and the circumstances which are present, but more sense of the wonderfulness of God's ways, who should, through the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, have prepared such an end, in which many a sinner under Adam the first, and myself among the number, will find ourselves shortly caught up to be forever with the Lord, and in the Father's house. I trust that (in the weaning from self and circumstances in the wilderness, which I have in measure had) tastes, habits, ways, as well as affections and thoughts in accordance with those of the God of glory have been formed by Him in me. —W.

Extracts From Correspondence: Differences Between the Moral Activities of Society and the Church

The moral activities that are abroad are surely immense, and the pressure upon the social system of influences full of deceivableness, I suppose, is beyond all precedent. It is desirable to keep the soul increasingly alive to the fact that the path of the Church is a narrow and peculiar one. Even her virtues must have a peculiar material in them. Her common honesty, her good deeds, too, her secular labors, her fruitfulness, purity, and the like are to be peculiar in their functions and their springs. Her discipline does not act after the pattern of the mere moral sense of man. Society, as another has observed, would disclaim the offense contemplated in 1 Cor. 5; but society would never deal with it as the Church is there called to deal with it. Society, for instance, would never put covetousness or extortion in company with it, but the saint is instructed to do so. The moral sense of man would there make distinctions, when the pure element of the house of God resents all alike as unworthy of it.
This is “fine gold,” dear brother—gold refined again and again. Even the morals of the Church are to be of another quality from those of men. What sanctions are brought in 1 Cor. 5, 6 as to the common matters of life. If the saint be to abstain from fornication, it is because his body is a temple: if he be to refuse the judgment of others in the affairs of this life, in their most ordinary ways of right and wrong, of debit and credit, it is because he himself is destined to be a judge in the seat of the world to come, even from a throne of glory. Is not this “fine gold?” Does not such sanction make morals divine? What, in the world's morality, is like this? And I ask further, is not the need of this divine or peculiar agency to the effecting any moral results intimated in Luke 11:21-27? If it be not the stronger man possessing himself of the house, is anything done for God? If it be merely the unclean spirit going out, the end of the history of the house is, that it becomes more fitted for deeper evil. The emptied state, even accompanied by sweeping and ornamenting, is only a preparation for a worse condition, and nothing is done for God but when the stronger enters the house. No instrument of garnishing according to God, but Christ. And in the remembrance of these verses, dear brother, ask yourself what is doing in and for the house of Christendom at this moment. Is not many a broom, many a brush sweeping it and painting it? Is this making it God's house, or getting it ready to be the house of the full energy—the sevenfold energy—of the enemy.

Extracts From Correspondence: Keeping Pure in the Midst of Evil

Plenty of error is abroad, I doubt not, and that of all sorts, doing all kinds of mischief. May our hearts be pained when we think of it. But it is not for all of us, at least, to meddle with it in the way of exposure. To separate “the good into vessels,” the precious from the unclean mass, and nourish it with divine provisions may be a happier business.
I think we may learn that all forms of error have something of full-grown representatives in these last days. The infidel leaven will; (2 Peter 3:3, &c;) the loose, the morally relaxed condition of evangelical profession will; (2 Peter 2, and Jude;) religiousness, which leaves the soul exposed to the “deceivableness of unrighteousness,” will (2 Thess. 2) These, and others, will be in full strength, in the last days, that the judgment of God may meet them, as has been the way of divine judgments, in their day of full-blown fruits. In a general way I would put brethren in Christ in mind of all this, that they may keep themselves pure. But it is endless to follow the mind of man, as it is in this day of its peculiar activity, filling the scene with its fruit.
Ranke's history of the Popes of the 16th and 17th centuries is a remarkable witness (though perhaps not fully so intended to be by its author) of the present movement. We are witnessing a second regeneration of Catholicism, as Ranke says the close of the 16th century did. And this revival is destined, I judge, to set the woman on the beast, till the beast and his kings dethrone her to perfect their own form of apostasy, which the just Lord who judgeth righteously will visit in His day.
Great principles such as these are to be put before the saints, that their minds may be delivered from the perverted expectations of this generation. But this is to be done rather incidentally, more for the sake of the kingdom that lies beyond all this, than with the intent of acquainting the mind with these evils and apostate reprobate things themselves. A rejected Jesus is to be presented to the affections of the saints, and the coming glory is to be shown as that which suits Him as such a rejected One. J. G. B.

Ezekiel

JEREMIAH and Daniel, with the son of Buzi, were the great prophets of the captivity, as indeed they were in part contemporaries of one another, however they differed in their position and in the work which God gave each to do.
In Jeremiah we see a heart surcharged with grief, as he looked on the sin and misery and imminent judgment of the beloved people of God. Willing to plead that he was a child who could not speak, he is called to go to all that the Lord should send him, and to speak whatsoever He should command a prophet unto the nations, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build and to plant. Man—Jeremiah himself—would not have so ordered his path, for his was a timid spirit, which would gladly have retired into a lodging-place in the wilderness apart, and there have melted away in weeping for the daughter of his people. But God chose this man of tender sympathies to be the vessel of His terrible denunciations, and caused the one who interceded with the deepest feeling for Judah to know that all was in vain to stay the ruin. The iniquity was full, with less and less of heart to repent, and increasing rejection of God and His testimony, as he had to learn in his own sorrowful experience. Jerusalem, then, and David's house, having proved hopelessly wicked, nothing remained but judgment—a judgment which extends in principle to all nations. (Chap. 25) These nations are given into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, who should at the close be judged like the rest. Thus while Jeremiah exhorts to entire submission to the divine judgment, the destruction of Babylon is most fully and minutely declared. There is no account of the successive empires, as such, but solely of that one which God had raised up to set aside His own people and king, who had now become His worst dishonor, and the scandal of all the Gentiles. But the downfall of Jerusalem involved, that of the various independent nations, who revolved, in the ways of God, around that center. Jeremiah shows, accordingly, the rise of Babylon into its peculiar place, but also its fall, as the occasion of a deliverance of the captive people: the pledges of a vaster judgment, and of a more glorious restoration at the end of the age.
It was the lot of Daniel, while still assigning a singularly marked niche to Babylon, to develop, by the Holy Ghost, the whole course of the Gentile powers, “the times of the Gentiles,” who should, one after another, tread down Jerusalem. In other words, Daniel surveys the very serious and interesting parenthesis, during which God suspended His direct government of the earth, hitherto connected with David's house in Jerusalem, and retreating into His sovereignty, as God of heaven, committed universal power apart from His calling and presence, to Nebuchadnezzar and his successors. Of this momentous, but too little estimated, change, Daniel is the grand witness in the Old Testament. He fills up the interval during which God's proper and immediate governance of the earth ceases. There had been a feeble testimony to. His earthly government in Israel, which was set aside for a time by the Babylonish captivity. There will be the fulfillment of His rule when the last holder of the dominion, which was entrusted first to Nebuchadnezzar, shall fall under His judgment, God dealt with the world, not merely in providence, but through Israel, before the existence of the system symbolized by the statue of Dan. 2. He will deal with the world, after the extinction of this system by the little stone cut without hands. The intervening space is occupied with the rejection of Israel, and the contemporaneous supremacy of the imperial nations.
Evidently, therefore, the prophecy of Daniel fits into the space which is left open in the book of Ezekiel, who gives us most striking and instructive pictures of the state of things before and after the great image, but overleaps all between. Thus, at the beginning, we see that when the city, and even the sanctuary, became the scene of ungodliness and idolatry, Nebuchadnezzar takes Jerusalem, and the glory of God visits and abandons it. (Ezek. 1-11) At the end, (chap. 40-18) it is equally clear that the glory returns, never to depart from the land and people, as long as God has relations with the earth. Accordingly, all the rest of the Book bears out and confirms this first and prominent lesson, which no spiritual reader can fail to discern. There is a remarkably full display of the government of God here below, and this in Israel as His earthly center. The earlier half of the book is devoted chiefly to proving and rebuking the sin which necessitated the judgment, and so much the more because God was there as a governor. The latter part dwells rather upon His ways with Israel to restore them fully as His people, reveals the judgment of those nations who should venture to dispute His rights in connection with Israel, and predicts the establishment of the temple and all pertaining to it, as well as the final division of the land for the people, suitably to the glory of God and the rule of the true David.
Hence, in Ezekiel, you have no longer the man whose heart was broken, as he viewed the insensibility of God's people, not only to their exceeding sin, but to the yearnings of the Spirit over them, if peradventure they might yet repent. Our prophet sees the people thoroughly obdurate, so as to be no longer morally appealed to, no longer open even to rebuke. And therefore it is that in Ezekiel we find that the time is come to announce that the Lord could not act on the principles of His ancient dealings with Israel, and a new line of conduct is set forth. Individual conscience is appealed to; each must be judged according to his own ways. (Compare Ezek. 18, and 33) The condition of the individual before God is everything now that the nation is judged. And if judgment is threatened and executed. on all nations, beginning with Jerusalem, the object is that all may know the Lord—know Him by His vengeance, as Israel will also by the accomplishment of His word.
Another consequence that flows from the governmental aspect in which Israel and Jerusalem are looked at in Ezekiel is, that Christ's coming in humiliation is never spoken of there. His glory we have, but not His sufferings. Indeed, properly speaking, the second advent of Christ is not described any more than His first. The results of His presence, His judgments, His reigning in the midst of Israel, are prominent; but neither His cross nor His coming again in the clouds of heaven. Judgment of sin borne by the rejected Messiah is nowhere the thought, but the judicial dealing of the Lord with His people and the nations. A remnant is set apart and spared, and the reserve of God's sovereign grace is disclosed, whereby all is changed where all was lost, and He can and will restore His people and bless them according to all His heart, under the sway of the rightful king. “And my servant David shall be their prince forever.”
Again, from considering the diverse objects of these prophecies, we discover the true solution of their peculiarities. Thus, it is noticed by Dr. H. “that among the predictions against the enemies of the covenant people, we find none directed against Babylon.” But he adds an explanation which ought never to have proceeded from a Christian pen— “to what this is to be ascribed, it is difficult to imagine, except it arose from a desire not to give unnecessary offense to the government under which the prophet lived” (p. 9). Is it possible that one who writes thus can rightly hold that Ezekiel was inspired, and his writings the word of God? And, in the next place, if any prophet could have been supposed to be actuated by such motives, it was Daniel, who resided, not in the country only, but in the capital, nay, who stood in the palace of Babylon's most imperious king. Does he shrink from uttering the dirge of Babylon? The very contrary. In the second chapter he opens to the king fearlessly the true meaning of his dream, and in his interpretation- far from -weakening—he gives a very personal force to the head of the great image— “Thou art this head of gold;” and closes all with the declaration that an indestructible kingdom, set up by the God of heaven, should consume all these kingdoms, as the little stone was seen to break in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold. Still more pointed is chapter 4, where Daniel interprets for the king the dream which made Nebuchadnezzar afraid, and filled the prophet with mute astonishment for a short season. And no wonder. Yet did not the prophet shrink from explaining that it was he, Nebuchadnezzar himself, who for his pride of power was doomed to be the object of the most terrible humiliation which the Most High ever inflicted, though mercy was to triumph over judgment in the end. But, thirdly, the judicial scope of Ezekiel required him, under the guidance of the Spirit, to introduce the king of Babylon, not as the first of the bestial empires, (which was reserved for another prophet who predicted it under circumstances still more calculated to silence him, if human prudence ruled,) but as the servant of the Lord in executing judgment upon the apostate people of God, no less than the Gentiles. Ezekiel brings us up to the point when imperial supremacy was entrusted to the king of Babylon, but gives us neither the destruction of that city, nor much less the history and judgment of the imperial power. Jeremiah, in accordance with the Spirit's design by him, gives us the former, (chap. 1:51) Daniel gives us both with the utmost precision (chap. 2:35, 45; 5, 7:4). That is, Ezekiel gives us the preliminary struggles of the king of Egypt, who wished to be the great imperial head, but fell, as the Assyrian had already fallen, and Nebuchadnezzar received that place in the sovereign disposal of God. But having got there, Ezekiel stops, and again brings forward the ways of God with Israel, when He in the last days falls back on His grace, judges all their oppressors, and re-establishes them as His nation in holiness and glory before all the earth. Therefore it is that the end of his prophecy presents such a full view of God's final dealings with Israel and the Gentiles, the sanctification of His name in their midst, the proof of His grace, and the return of His glory to leads you to the brink of this bright era, and there he concludes, his subject being the course, character, and judgment of the great Gentile empires, as related to the Jews.
There is no reference, therefore, in this prophecy, to what is called “the spiritual kingdom,” as men so often deduce from chapter 17:22-24, or from the closing vision. Elsewhere are indications of mercy to the Gentiles, and that during Israel's temporary blindness, but they are foreign to the purpose of God in Ezekiel. Isaiah and Hosea furnished prophetic hints, of which the Holy Ghost, who inspired them, makes fruitful use, when the due time came, by the ministry of the apostle Paul. Here it is another character of events and visions and revelations, which have for their foundation God removing His government from Israel, and God re-establishing it there before all nations. All is fitly closed by the description of a sanctuary, its ritual, and other appurtenances, adapted to an earthly though regenerate people, to Israel on earth, and in no way, nor time, to the Church of the first-born which are written in heaven.
Dr. Henderson is “constrained to abide by the idea of a literal temple,” and so far is he right. “That it was the restoration of the material temple, then in ruins, that the prophet had in his eye, is the only hypothesis which fully meets the exigency of the case.” Indeed, one has only to read the comments of such as Gill, &c., to see how inevitably the so-called spiritual interpretation drives its advocates into plain and positive contradiction of the New Testament. For the priests are, in this scheme, made to represent Christian ministers! An idea more incompatible, not only with the true place of the believer and Christian ministry, but with the grace of God as now displayed in the gospel, can scarcely be imagined. This will serve to show how a false prophetic notion invariably tends, if systematically carried out, to overthrow the work or the person of Christ. All errors probably tend to the same point when confronted with the full light of God; but happily His mercy keeps His saints from working them out to their mature and deadly consequences.
Now, it is striking to observe how God has graciously guarded against this spurious spiritualism no less than against Dr. H.'s idea that it refers to what was restored after the return from the Babylonish captivity—a return, by the way, which Ezekiel does not notice.
For most important changes are here anticipated, embracing things sacred and political. The divisions of the land among the twelve tribes did not differ more from the ancient arrangement, than did the predicted temple, sacrifices, feasts, &c., from the previous order of Moses and of David. That the feeble remnant under Ezra and Nehemiah rebuilt the city and the sanctuary, according to this pattern, and conformed to these predicted innovations, is contrary to all the evidence of scripture which we possess; and we have ample light upon the restoration, both in a civil and in a religious point of view. The gathering of Israel knew too well, had not taken place; nor had the gracious work of God in cleansing and renewing them been yet accomplished, much less had the earthly blessings of the kingdom been vouchsafed. (Ezek. 36) The dry bones were still unquickened; Ephraim and Judah were as far apart as ever. (Ezek. 37) Nor had the last Gentile foe, Gog, made his appearance on the mountains of Israel. (Ezek. 38; 39) There was no pretense to parcel out the land as Ezekiel prescribed, nor to build a temple according to his magnificent scale. It was a day of small things and the ancient men that had seen the former house wept, when the foundation of the post-captivity temple was laid before their eyes. But among the people who shouted for joy, not one, we presume, fell into so great mistake as Dr. H. Who of these Jews, untaught and unspiritual as most were, could have thought that they who had mercy extended to them in the sight of the Persian kings, to set up the house of God and its desolations, and to have a wall in Judah and Jerusalem, were beholding a temple, whose earthly grandeur was to transcend the house of Solomon, far more than the house which he built outshone the lowly tabernacle of the wilderness?
On the other hand, we agree with Dr. H. that a matter-of-fact sanctuary is meant. The more a reader “studies it, and the more he enters into the minutiae, with the greater force does the conviction rivet itself in his mind Talk to him about spiritual and mystical meanings, you puzzle and bewilder him. He may admire your ingenuity, and be brought to be half inclined to embrace your theory, but he cannot, after all, rid himself of the notion of a material building and literal ordinances” (p. 189). This is true, and cannot be got rid of by the mysticists. But it is more important to observe that, in the feasts, Pentecost or the feast of weeks has no place. This fact, and it is not the only one of the sort, destroys the notion that the present dispensation was meant. For notoriously that feast is, above all others, the type of the Christian position, which is founded on the death and resurrection of Christ, and characterized by the presence of the Spirit. Doubtless, in the millennium, the Spirit will be poured out on all flesh. Still however blessed a privilege that may be, the presence of Christ the king is much more distinctively what marks the age to come—the answer of glory to the sufferings of the Messiah. Accordingly, as the millennial age is here meant, we have the indispensable Passover and the Tabernacles then fulfilled; but no Pentecost—an absence most unaccountable, if the bearing were to foreshadow the place and privilege of the Church now, but perfectly natural if the future and earthly reign of Christ were intended.
There are many to whom the idea of a material temple, of earthly priesthood, and literal sacrifices, bloody and unbloody, is repulsive, and this not only in the abstract, but because each and all seem opposed to the letter and the spirit of the Epistle to the Hebrews. But these Christians forget that that epistle addresses the “partakers of the heavenly calling,” and supposes persons in separation from the mass of the Jewish nation. Suffering on earth, and in relation with Christ on high, in no way applies to the state of things which Ezekiel takes for granted; for there it is Israel, as such who are brought into blessing on earth, reigned over by their long-expected king, and their every foe judged, so as to sanctify and make known Jehovah to all the earth.
Nor is it just to say that such a restitution of earthly rites, &c., is to retrogade. It would be so if men compare the Church's portion, even now, with that of millennial Israel or the Gentiles; but such a comparison is unfair. Rightly viewed, there is decided and most blessed progress in the ways of God. We have had Israel tried and found wanting. We have the Church proved, and still proving itself, just as unfaithful to its high calling and responsibilities. The millennium will be the manifestation of God's kingdom, in both its parts, “earthly things,” as well as “heavenly.” And what advance more precious or conspicuous The Church, which had failed here below, will be displayed in unfailing glory above; and Israel, hitherto so rebellious, shall be called the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord, their city no longer forsaken, nor their land desolate. Thus it is a partial view which creates the difficulty. Divine revelation, as a whole, preserves the earthly people and the heavenly Church in their due spheres, without confusion; and shows that in the age to come there will be no more retrogression than in God's past dispensations. For us, no doubt, it would be going back, but not for Israel. The will then offer intelligently that which sets forth the work of their Messiah.
In a word, then, faith leaves room for all the words of God, and waits on the Spirit for wisdom in applying them. The tendency of Popery has ever been to find in the Christian Church the accomplishment of such prophecies of earthly glory, as are found in Isaiah, Ezekiel, &c. And Popery is in this more consistent than Protestantism; for Popery regards Christianity as an elongation of, and improvement on, the Jewish economy, and finds an earthly high priest, priests, Levites, temple, sacrifices, fasts, feasts, &c., answering, to those of the Mosaic system. Protestantism discards all these in profession, if not in practice; but as it in general denies the future and distinctive place of Israel, it arrogates to itself that coveted prize of earthly exaltation, and is thus forced to adopt the mystical principle of interpretation. If not, it falls back on the strange praeterism of Dr. H, which can only see in Gog the past history of Antiochus Epiphanes, and in the glowing pictures of the sanctuary and the land and city the prefiguring of what was done under Ezra and Nehemiah. It is clear that such exposition exposes the word of God to the charge of the grossest exaggeration, and helps on the growing incredulity of these last days. To faith it makes little difference whether God speaks of the past or of the future: the believer cordially accepts all He says and loves to look for a bright morrow.

A Fair Show in the Flesh

“The truth,” or the doctrine of the Son, as the Lord Himself teaches us, (John 8:32-36,) sets free all those who receive it. It is the “law of liberty;” (James 1, 2) it is “mercy rejoicing over judgment;” for judgment has been duly and fully marked against us, as guilty but through the blood of sprinkling, mercy is secured, and by the gospel that mercy is published; so that the truth the doctrine of the Son, the gospel, or the law of liberty, which are all titles of the same revelation of God—sets the sinner free. In this precious liberty is included freedom from sin, from the law, and from the flesh. This is the excellent and wondrous teaching of Rom. 6; 7:8 Sin had been a master. But the believer in Jesus is dead in Jesus; and death being the end or wages of sin, sin is gone. “He that is dead is freed (justified) from sin.” Sin has no claim on him. He is no longer to be its servant; for by death the entire connection between him and sin is dissolved. So is the believer freed from the law; for the law addresses itself only to living man. It is the husband only of such, by its energies working on the flesh. But the believer being not a living, but a dead and risen, man—a man in union with a dead and risen Christ—the law is of necessity discharged as an old husband, and the believer is acted upon by the virtues of the risen Christ, the new husband. So also is the believer out of the flesh. The flesh is the living man, man in his nature, as derived from corrupted Adam. But the believer is not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, and the Spirit of God dwells in him. (Rom. 8) He is in the new man in the second Adam; he is in Christ, and being one with Him, he is spirit—for he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. (1 Cor. 6:17)
These are the three blessed characteristics of the believer's liberty, as we are taught in these three glorious chapters. This is the standing of the “man in Christ.” The truth has made him free, the Son has made him free; and this has been accomplished by taking him out of himself, and planting him, through faith, in the dead and risen Christ of God. Sin has no claim to his service, as a lord; the law has no power over him, as a husband; nor is the flesh the condition in which he is.
But this doctrine, which is Christianity, does not suit the legal, fleshly mind of man. Above all the difficulty which Paul had to meet in his care of the churches, that which arose from our disposedness to return to the law, or to “confidence in the flesh,” was the most frequent and the greatest.
In Galatia he found this abundantly. The church there had been eminent for attachment to him, because of the gospel which he preached. They had received him as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus, and would have plucked out their eyes for him. They had been in a particularly blessed state of soul; they had begun in the “Spirit,” in the doctrine of faith; and this devotedness of heart to the apostle who had brought them that doctrine, was the fruit of it. But they had been “bewitched.” They had been drawn back from their place in Christ, and were in bondage again. Instead of being dead to the old husband, they had re-embraced him, and were deriving influence out of him once more. Not that they had formally renounced Christ, as Jews or Pagans. They still professed Christ, but together with Him, they were insisting on, and trusting in, “days, and months and times, and years.” They were teaching for doctrines the commandments of doubt that it is Israel and the forces will be men. They were re-enacting ordinances; they were turning again to beggarly elements. A life of simple faith in the Son of God, as the one who had loved them and given Himself for them, was defiled; and they were living to the law, putting themselves under observances, as under so many tutors and governors. They were servants and not sons—in bondage, and not in liberty; they had gone back to the schoolmaster, which they could not do without leaving the Father's house.
All this must have been connected with an increasing show of religion among them. This necessarily was the case; for “days and months” were so increasingly observed, the bonds of the law and of carnal ordinances were so multiplied, that to an eye not instructed by the Spirit, they must have had a great “name to live.” But Paul speaks of all this as “leaven,” threatening to corrupt the whole mass. In his view it was the symptom of death, and not of life. “A fair show” it was; but it was a fair show “in the flesh.” Thus, under his eye, it was the garnishing of a sepulcher, and his energy is employed in re-quickening them. He travails in birth again with them, if haply they might be raised out of this sepulcher, or place of death, and brought forth, as Isaac from Sarah's dead womb, by the precious ministry of the truth—that is, the doctrine of the Son taught by the Spirit.
This epistle is a word of solemn admonition. It shows us that the most promising may be beguiled, so that all have to watch, We may have the blessed assurance of our holy keeping; but we none of us keep the book of life, Therefore we can only say of one another, “if ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled.” And this epistle shows that we may be disappointed even in the most promising—in a Galatian disciple; but it also shows us that the Spirit of God is alive, most sensitively alive, to the least infraction of the truth, or “the law of liberty.” He speaks of it as He speaks of some of the foulest moral stains that could defile the garments of the saints both are the leaven that leavens the whole lump (1 Cor. 5:6; Gal. 5:9).
But it is to be observed still further, as to the nature of this leaven that was working in Galatia, that it was not the revival of a hope, under what is termed the moral law of the ten commandments, as though by strict moral obedience a righteousness could be produced. This was not the gross thought of the disciples there; but they were returning to observances and ordinances. It was a more refined and religious confidence in the flesh, but still it was confidence in the flesh. They had begun in the Spirit, with Christ's sufficiency; but now they were looking for perfection from and in the flesh. It was a departure from the liberty in which Christ, by His death and resurrection, had put them; and the apostle clearly treats them as a people whose condition made him to stand in doubt of them, and to feel towards them as though he must begin his toil among them afresh, and travail in birth again till Christ be formed in them, till all fleshly confidence should depart from their hearts, and Christ and His liberty—Christ and the virtue of His death and resurrection, Christ and His completeness for the poor sinner—be welcomed and received there alone.
All at Galatia was as death while the flesh, and its observances, and its righteousness, were thus confided in. A sepulcher it was, garnished by much religious drapery; but the apostle was not to be deceived by such fair show; he lays it bare; he takes off the trappings to exhibit the corruption that was under them: for it was the flesh that was under them, and the flesh is a dead thing. They might ornament the flesh, but it is all uncleanness; and deck it out as we may, it is the flesh still, in which there dwelleth “no good thing.” The days, and months, and times, and years, religiously enforced as they were, and fitted to give their votaries a name to live with those who judge after the flesh, were but a painted sepulcher to the eye of Paul.
Indeed God is not truly known where such things are trusted. If the living, blessed God be really before the soul, He is known as one who quickens the dead; but confidence in the flesh, such as existed among the Galatians, gives up God. Thus the apostle has to say, “howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service to them which by nature are no gods; but now after that ye have known God (or rather are known of God), how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, wherein ye desire again to be in bondage?” For, indeed, as we may infer from what he says in Gal. 2:19, the only way to be alive to God is to be dead to the law. Truly blessed this is. As long as the soul is alive to the law—as long as it derives the motions and sanctions which influence it from the law, it is dead to God. For self is its end and object: to take care of one's self, of one's own interest and safety is its purpose. God is not lived for; His glory and service are not the aim of the soul; that cannot be because the law is set up, and the law puts us upon caring for ourselves—upon the anxious, uneasy, servile question of our own interest and safety. This is shown in the person of the unprofitable servant.
He was under the law. All that he cared about was to come off well in the day of reckoning. He treated the Lord as an austere man who must be satisfied. He feared him, not having learned that way of “perfect love” which is His, and which casts out fear; and thus he was alive to the law, but dead to God. Paul, however, stood in another mind. “I,” he says, “through the law, am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.” But from this life the Galatians had now been “bewitched.” They had begun it, but they were now deserting it, and no time was to be lost, if haply the apostle might now call them back to Christ, or to that “faith” which works by love, setting the heart and conscience at liberty before God, so that He may be loved. They had to be learned again that nothing availed but “a new creature;” (Gal. 6); that before God the flesh is gone, sin judged, and the law taken out of the way; that the old master of Rom. 6 is no longer in power, and that we are become dead to the old husband of Rom. 7; but that by faith in a dead and risen Christ, we have escaped from these bonds and penalties, to find our liberty in the fullness of Christ.
But if the standing in the “righteousness by faith” be given up, and “confidence in the flesh” be adopted, then there is both a fall from grace, and debtorship to do the whole law (Gal. 5:1-5). Christ will not share the confidence of our souls with the law. He is a jealous husband, even as God is a jealous God. And we may bless Him that He is; we may bless Him that He will have us as a chaste virgin, with mind kept uncorrupted in His simplicity. If we return to the law, whether ceremonial or moral, we are debtors to the whole of it. We are to glory in the cross of Christ, whereby the world is crucified unto us, and we unto the world (Gal. 6:14). We are not, by subjection to ordinances, to manifest that we are still living in the world (Col. 2:20). The cross has met everything for us. It has honored the rights and demands of God. It has answered and silenced the malice of the enemy. And in spirit we have been carried on high, in and with Jesus, beyond the voice of the law; for that spoke for God on earth and we are above the earth, in the heavens, with the ascended Christ (Eph. 2:6). This being so, we are called to leave the world, and all thoughts of sanctification in the flesh, remembering that it is with nothing else than with the “increase of God” that we are nourished. (Col. 2:19.) What words! but not too great; for our life is hid in God, and therefore partakes of its proper, divine nourishment. It is not we that live, but Christ that lives in us. All this truth was so precious to Paul, that the teaching of those who were reviving the law, or bondage to ordinances, was especially his sorrow; and as such had leavened the churches in Galatia more than any other, his most aggrieved letter is to them. It was the jealous care of the apostle to keep the doctrines of unsullied Christianity in full purity, and to spread the savor of them through the hearts of the elect. And this doctrine of Christ tells us that man is utterly worthless—that he has been touched again and again by the finger of God, and been found to be an instrument entirely out of tune, having no music for Him at all. Man is, accordingly, in the boundlessness of divine grace, laid aside, and Christ is taken up, risen from the dead, as the head of a new creation. Believers are God's workmanship in Christ Jesus. Christ is formed in them. They are born of God, and His seed remains in them—that incorruptible seed of the word of the gospel. They are a new creation, of which Christ is both the head and the character. He is in them, and they are in Him. It is not they who live, but Christ liveth in them. They are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, as has been before said, but to write again these precious truths is safe and pleasant. The believer is in Christ, and not in himself, and thus he has done with condemnation as much as Christ has. Christ was once condemned; He died unto sin once; but now He dieth no more, death has no more dominion over Him. And so with the believer who is in Him: “There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.”
All this is for the effectual relief of the conscience, to give it perfect rest. But in the doctrine of Christ there is much more. It may be expressed thus, in mind, body, and ESTATE, believers are one with Jesus. How divine the love that could take such a counsel! The poor soul that believes is one with Christ in spirit now, and is to be one with Him in body and in inheritance by and by. He that is joined to the Lord is already “one spirit” with Him; and the present vile body is to be hereafter changed into the likeness of “his glorious body;” and further still, we are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ;” for in Him and with Him we have obtained an inheritance. Thus are believers “conformed to the image of the Son.” In mind, body, and estate they are one with Him Great features of the precious mystery of Christ these are; and, shall I say, still more marvelous is it, that the same love which rests on the Son rests on them. (John 17:23.)
Thoughts quite beyond any but the mind of the Spirit open to us in all this. But while tracing the mystic oneness of Christ, we are to remember the teaching of scripture, that Jesus is the Sanctifier, and believers but the sanctified (Heb. 2). And this shows that notwithstanding the existence of this oneness, yet the proper personal distance between Him and us originally was as great as light from darkness, as heaven from hell, as God Himself from sin. And we are also to remember that by His blood alone are we called into this condition. The blood is our only title, though the things to which it entitles us are thus immeasurable. Now all this glorious mystery is soiled and clouded by those who taught circumcision or the law of commandments contained in ordinances. No wonder, then, that our apostle so withstood them; for such doctrine revives the flesh—revives man in himself; and that is destructive of the first element in pure, unmixed, Christianity. It builds again that which has been destroyed; it rakes among old ruins; it seeks the living among the dead; it busies itself in clothing a carcass; it is not in any wise a fellow-laborer with the Spirit, for it is dealing with man and not with Christ; it is of the world; for the apostle, in the strong language already referred to in Col. 2:20, challenges subjection to ordinances as a living in the world, and as unsuited to one that is dead and risen with Christ.
No wonder, then, that the apostle sets himself so zealously to the service of teaching the saints the great mystery, so bright and full as it is of the glory of God; and also to the service of gainsaying the leaven of the “teachers of the law,” so destructive is it of glory. If he prized the grace of God in its purity and fullness, if he prized the liberty of the souls of the saints, if he valued the blood and work of Jesus, he must set himself to these services; he must withstand the pretensions of the flesh, wherever he met them, and spread among the saints the light and savor of this mystery of Christ. And so we find he did according to the working of God which wrought in him effectually. It was his jealously lest that doctrine should be tainted; it was his delight and desire that that doctrine should be known. For the flesh, with all that it had, and all it could glory in, whether its wisdom, strength, or religion, he had left to perish in its own corruption.
And in closing, let us ask, what will commonly be found in this enacting of days, and months, and times, and years—in this reviving of ordinances, and of the rudiments of the world? In those who impose them, there has been of old the design of fastening their own bonds round the hearts of their votaries; in those who adopt them, there is generally the blindness of the mere natural mind: but at times these things are the fruit of growing worldliness in professors. This “doing, doing,” in religious observances is the miserable substitute for the walk of faith and communion with God in the Spirit. The world that crucified Jesus is not heartily renounced, nor is Jesus Himself heartily embraced. The sweet savor of His name is departing, the freshness of His presence is fading, and the conscience, unsettled by this, seeks relief in the increased religiousness of the fleshly mind. The dark, cold heart, as it recedes from Christ, loses the vigorous, happy, genial sense, and puts on ornaments to hide from itself the growing feebleness of old age. It is well if they do not prove the very funeral trappings of a dead body. The heart knows its own wretched ways and deceits too well not to be able to speak of these things. Would that we were more simple concerning such evil. But Christ in His sufficiency is only the more prized and the more clung to as either one's soul is tempted this way, or as one's eye and ear understand that this way is growing in a generation of large and corrupted profession.

Faith and Its Fruits: Poetry

Where'er the patriarch pitched his tent,
He built an altar to His God;
And sanctified, where'er he went,
With faith and prayer, the ground he trod.
Through all the east for riches famed,
(Heaven's gifts) he set his heart on none;
Nor when the dearest was reclaimed,
Withheld his son, his only son.
Wherefore in blessing he was blest;
Friendless, the friend of God became;
Long wandering, everywhere found rest;
Long childless, nations bear his name.
Nor nations born of blood alone;
The father of the faithful he,
Where'er his promised seed is known,
Faith's heirs are his posterity.
My God, if called like him to roam,
Glad may I all for thee forsake;
My God, what thou hast made my home,
Let me thy sanctuary make.
Thy law, thy love, be my delight,
Whate'er I do, or think, or am,
Walking by faith, and not by sight,
Like a true child of Abraham.
-JAMES MONTGOMERY.

Faith's Resting Place

If my soul rests entirely on the work of Christ and His acceptance, as the One who appears in the presence of God for me, that is a finished work, and a perfect infinite acceptance.” “As He is, so are we in this world,” so that herein is love with us made perfect, that we should have boldness in the day of judgment. Now what men substitute for this is the examination of the effects of the Spirit in me.
The effects of regeneration are put as the ground of rest in lieu of redemption; whence I sometimes hope when I see those effects, sometimes despair when I see the flesh working. Having put the work of the Spirit in the place of the work of Christ, the confidence I am commanded to hold fast never exists, and I doubt whether I am in the faith at all. All this results from substituting the work of the Spirit in me for the work, victory, resurrection, and ascension of Christ actually accomplished—the sure, because finished resting-place of faith, which never alters, never varies, and is always the same before God. The discovery of sin in you, hateful and detestable as it is, is no ground for doubting; because it was by reason of this, to atone for this, because you were this, that Christ died; and Christ is risen, and there is an end of that question.

Faith's Resting Place

“MY GROANING.” (Psa. 38:9). A groan to God, however deep the misery, however prostrate the spirit, however unconscious that we are heard, is always received above as the intercession of the Spirit, and answered according to the perfectness of God's purpose concerning us in Christ. Therefore the charge is, “They have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds.” There is no consequence of sin which is beyond the reach of this groaning to God, nothing but the self-will which will not groan to Him at all. This is a blessed thought! Such is our intercourse with God in joy and in sorrow; and I doubt not that in us poor blessed creatures, the truest, the most blessed (what will shine most when all things shine before God), are these groans to Him; they cannot, indeed, be in their fullness but where the knowledge of the glory of blessing is. I can see them precede the greatest works and words of Jesus. The sense of the wilderness, taken into His heart, made but the streams which could refresh it flow forth in the sympathy of the Spirit which it called forth; and now the Spirit is IN US.

The Basket of First-Fruits

Q. Deut. 26 M. F. asks, whether the basket of first-fruits is limited to the entrance of Israel into the land, or whether it was a repeated and constant oblation? also, wherein it is verified in believers now?
A. That it applies to Israel's possession of the land at any time is plain. The last words of the first verse imply as much: “And it shall be when thou art come in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein, that thou shalt take,” &c. Ex. 23:19; Lev. 23; and Num. 18:13, fully confirm this. It was a standing ordinance in the land. The spirit of the offering is also clear—a full profession before God that they possessed the things which He had promised to their fathers. Their father had been a Syrian ready to perish, a slave in Egypt; and redemption had brought them out thence, and into the good land of which they were now in full enjoyment. Therefore were they come up to own the Giver, in offering to Him the first-fruits. They worshipped and rejoiced in every good thing the Lord had given them, and this in grace, with the Levite and the stranger. How all this bears on the way in which the believer now makes the offering is evident. All his worship is but the answer, the reflex, and bringing back to God of the fruit—the first-fruits, if true faith and godliness be there, of what God has revealed Himself to be to him, and of that heavenly joy into which He has introduced him. Such is properly what the Lord calls “that which is your own;” for on the earth we are pilgrims, in the desert it is not “ours.” The characteristic of piety will be found to be, in scripture, and everywhere, and ever, that the first effect of blessing is turning back to God and owing it there, not the personal enjoyment of it, which, without this, turns us from God. The love that gave it is more present than even the gift. See Eliezer at the well (Gen. 24), the cleansed Samaritan leper (Luke 17), and a multitude of other examples. He who gives is more and more before us than the gift itself. This is the elevating character of divine enjoyment. Then surely we do enjoy it, freely and blessedly, and the stream of grace flows out to the Levite and the stranger—to those whose hearts are in need, and who have not an inheritance in the land we enjoy. It is, then, the return of the heart to God in the enjoyment of the heavenly blessings which are the fruit of redemption. The Christian too can enjoy or so worship when he has the consciousness that heavenly things are his. It is the profession, the open avowal of this; if he has not this consciousness, neither can he bring his basket of first-fruits. “A Syrian ready to perish” was a thing past. The worship was grounded on possession of the blessing and on a known inheritance—type of “sitting in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” It is not thankfulness for promises, however surely that has its place, but thankfulness that they are accomplished—in Christ, yea and amen. Redemption is owned as an accomplished thing that has put us in possession, though for the redemption of the body we have yet to wait.
Indeed, this is the general character of Deuteronomy. It is not drawing near to God in the sanctuary by means of sacrifice, but the people—not the priest merely for them—are themselves in possession, and hence the sentiments towards God Himself, and towards the desolate of men, in the enjoyment of the blessing; for free grace becomes him who has received all through grace. Compare Deut. 16 where even the various degrees of this are traced in the three principal feasts of the Lord. Hence also the responsibility of the people as to the continuance of the enjoyment of the blessing; for it is in the path of obedience that such enjoyment is known. Deuteronomy is a book of the deepest practical instruction in this respect.

Notes of a Lecture on First Thessalonians 1

What I would desire to bring before you is, the coming of the Lord as the proper hope of the Church, and to show you that it is constantly, increasingly brought before it as such by the Spirit of God. When once the foundation is laid of His first coming as that which brings personally peace and salvation, and even before it, so far as it is a means of awakening the conscience, the one thing the saints were taught to look for was the coming of the Lord. No doubt the first thing the soul needs to know is the ground of its salvation. When this is known, the Lord Himself becomes precious to the believer, and when the Church was in a healthy state, we shall find that the hearts of the saints were altogether set upon Him, and looking for His coming. And now our hearts should understand (as I shall show you from Scripture was the case then) that the coming of Christ is not some strange speculation, or the advanced idea of a few, but was set before the Church as elementary and foundation truth, and formed a part of all their habits and feelings, and mingled itself with every thought. It was and is the keystone of all that keeps up the heart in this solitary place (looking at it as journeying through the wilderness), and with a heart full of love for God, and the desire to see Christ, we can appreciate the Apostle's prayer for us— “The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.” We have not long to wait, and it is worth being patient for.
We shall find, too, that the teaching of Scripture as to Christ's second coming casts wonderful light on the value of His first coming For His second coming, as it concerns the saints, is to complete as regards their bodies, so bringing them into the full result of salvation, that work of life-giving power Christ has already wrought in their souls, founded on the complete title in righteousness which He has effected for them on the cross. He comes to receive them to Himself that where He is there they may be also, to change their vile bodies and fashion them like His glorious body. For the saints the resurrection is a resurrection of life, not of judgment. It is a raising in glory, or changing into it by the Lord's power, those that are already quickened and justified. When people, Christian people too, are looking for judgment, and saying with Martha, “I know he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day,” they forget the judgment of the quick; that, then, is the judgment of this world: they are to be all caught eating and drinking. “Sudden destruction cometh upon them as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape. People do not like that. They put off God's judgment to a vague and indefinite period, when they hope all will be well. They think that then will be decided their final state, they trust, for blessing. There is surely a judgment; but all their thoughts about it are a mistake. The matter is decided now. “He that believeth is not condemned, and he that believeth not is condemned already.”
If we receive the statements of Scripture, all is as simple as possible—that the first coming of Christ to do His Father's will was so complete in its efficacy that they who belong to that first coming, who have part in its efficacy by faith, are cleansed, justified, forgiven by its virtue; and that when He comes the second time, He comes to bring them to glory. The moment I get hold of the truth that the coming is, for believers, to receive them to Himself, the moment I see that His coming the second time is to bring in the glory, to change us into His own likeness and to have us with Him, it affects everything, instead of being an unimportant thing.
I believe death is the most blessed thing that can happen to a Christian; but it is not the thing I am looking for. I am looking to see Him. He might come tomorrow, or tonight or now. Do you not think it would spoil all your plans? Suppose you thought He might come, would it not make a difference in your thoughts'? You know it would. Suppose a wife expects her husband to return from a journey, do you not think there would be an effort to have everything ready?
Another thing I have found to be specially blessed is, that it connects me with Christ so nearly that I do not think merely of going to heaven and being happy—a vague thought this. Of course, I shall be perfectly happy: surely we shall. The divine presence will shed sure and endless blessing around. But one is coming whom I know, who loves me, who has given Himself for me, whom I have learned to love; and I shall be with Him forever. Christ becomes personally more in view, more the object of our thoughts. Nothing is so powerful as scripture for everything It deals with the soul in the power of divine light. It reveals Christ, bringing the heart's judgment into His presence. It convicts every thought of the heart, showing what it is in truth.
There are three ways in which Christ is pointed to in Scripture: on the cross at His first coming; He is sitting on the right hand of God; and He is coming again. In the first He has laid the foundation of that which I have in Him. The foundation was on the cross, and now that He is sitting on the right hand of God, He has sent us the Holy Ghost the Comforter while awaiting His return, giving to those in whom He dwells the full certainty of faith as to the efficacy of His work and their own redemption. God's love and their own adoption thus lead them to desire with ardent hope His coming again.
Having thus given a general idea of the place Christ's coming holds in Scripture, I will take a few passages in different parts of the word, without going fully into them now, to show that it is the great truth of Scripture hope, and that all the thoughts, feelings, hopes, interests of God's children are connected with it—that not only it is not a false, but that it is not a rare or strange idea, but enters into the whole structure of Christian feeling.
Thus 1 Thess. 1:9, 10 “For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God: and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” Here we find that the world was talking about this expectation of the Christians: so sure was their expectation and so strong the influence which it exercised on their conduct. They (the disciples) were looking for God's Son from heaven: it formed a part of that which the heathen were converted to, the present waiting for God's Son from heaven, so that the world took notice of it. In chap. 2:18, 19, “For what is our hope, our joy, or crown of rejoicing?” Most beautiful here to see the affection of Paul for the saints; but to what did his heart look as the time when these affections would be satisfied in their blessing? The coming of Christ, Again, as regards holiness, we see exactly the same thing in chap. 3:12, 13, “And the Lord make you increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end he may establish y our hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints:” The coming of Christ, and His coming with all the saints so that it can confer but one thing, was so near to his spirit that he looks at their being found perfect then, as the object his heart desired. And in chap. 4:13, 18, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” We find that, instead of the Lord's coming being a strange doctrine, while he could not look for the Christian's dying without his going to heaven, yet the comfort he gives is not that but their return with Jesus. Death did not deprive them of this; God would have them with Him.
First note, beloved friends, the full assurance expressed here for living and dead saints alike. How do people persist in saying it is impossible to tell on this side the grave? The apostle does tell for both. The first coming of Christ has so finished redemption and the putting away of sin, that His second is glory and being with Him for the dead and living saints. But see how present the coming of the Lord was to their minds. If I were to comfort the friends of a departed saint by saying that God would bring him with Jesus when He came again, what would they think of me? That I was mad or wild. Yet such is the comfort Paul gives to the Thessalonians and no other, though he plainly teaches elsewhere that the soul of the saint will go to heaven when he dies.
But these examples show how the coming of the Lord mixed itself with every thought and feeling of Christianity then. So in his wish for Christians in chap. 5:23, “The very God of heaven sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” But the world rejects this news, and the church becomes worldly has lost her value for it. Not so the first disciples; their hearts were attached to their Master and they desired to see Him to be like Him. They waited as a present condition of soul for God's Son from Heaven. I have gone through these passages not merely to prove the doctrine but to show the way in which it connected itself with the whole of the Christian's life.
We will turn back now to see the universal testimony of Scripture to the truth of this doctrine and the various aspects it takes; and first, Matt. 24:30, 31, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, and He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” When the disciples ask Him the time when these things are to be, He tells them to watch; and in verse 44, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh.” But the Lord goes farther in the following parables which apply to Christians. The mark of the evil servant given there is that he says in his heart my lord delays his coming, and thereupon begins to eat and drink with the drunken. They lost the expectation of the church and sank down into hierarchical power and into the world, into comfort and pleasure. But the bridegroom did tarry, and the church lost the present expectation of Christ and the blessed fruit of it on their souls. Matt. 25:1, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” There is the essence of the church's calling. They went forth, but while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept, saints as well as professors no exception. They all lost the sense of what they had gone out to, and gave up watching. And what is it that aroused them from the sleepy state into which they had fallen? “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh: go ye out to meet him,” verse 6. They had to be called out again; they had got into the world, into some place to sleep more comfortably, just where the professing church is now, eating and drinking with the drunken, and the cry is, I trust, again going forth, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh.” And what made the church depart from the sense of what they had been called out to was saying (just what people, and Christian, people too, are saying now) “The Lord delayeth, His coming.” They do not say He will not come, but He delays it; we are not to expect Him.
I will pass over Mark, not that there are not plenty of passages there, but that what we find there is substantially the same as what we find in Matt. 1 will go on therefore to Luke 12:35-38, “Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching; verily, I say unto you, that he shall gird himself and make them sit down to meat, and will come forth to serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third, and find them so, blessed are those servants.” Remark here that the waiting for the coming of Christ is what characterizes the Christian according to the mind of Christ. Men speak of death, but death is not my Lord.
We find the same truth pressed on men in Luke chapter 17, verses 22-37, where this passage does not warn people as to sin, but as to the unholy thought that the world may go on indefinitely. As soon as Noah entered into the ark, the flood came and destroyed them all. As soon as the Church is taken up, Satan having filled men's hearts with lies, judgment will come. And as in the days of Noah and of Lot, they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, planted and builded, even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. Remark here how impossible it is to apply this to the great white throne. When He sits on the great white throne, the heavens and the earth flee away; there is a total destruction of everything. Men will not be eating, drinking, planting, building then. Look now at chap. 21:26 to 36. People apply this to the destruction of Jerusalem, but this is spoken of in verse 25 of this chapter: “Then let them which are in Jerusalem flee to the mountains and let them which are in the midst of it depart out: and let not them that are in the countries enter there into.” But then, after that, Jerusalem is trodden down of the Gentiles till the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled (the time running on now till the last beast's wickedness is filled up). Then come the signs and the Son of Man is revealed.
John 14:1, 2, 3. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me; in my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also.” Such is the promise left us the comfort Christ gave to His disciples when He was leaving them: He comes to receive them to Himself.
Acts 1:9, 10, 11. “And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” This too, though it be Christ coming in the clouds, is not the great white throne: but what is striking here is, they are losing Christ, and what is the angels' word to them? Why are ye looking up into heaven? He will come again in the same way. What the angels brought before them to comfort them, when Jesus left them, was that He would come again; and that to which scripture points people's hearts, to comfort and strengthen them, is that He is coming again.
It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment. That is the allotted portion of the seed of the first Adam; but as that is man's portion, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, and to them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation (Heb. 9:27, 28). And Christ is waiting only till the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. We are not even all to die. We shall not all die, 1 Cor. 15:51; Rom. 11:25: “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” When the Church is formed, its last member being brought in, when the fullness of the Gentiles is come in, Israel will be saved as a nation and the deliverer come out of Zion. Christ will appear for their deliverance.
Again, turn to 1 Cor. 1:6, 7, “Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift: waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” All the promises of the prophets will be fulfilled at that coming.
Turn back to Acts 3:19, 20, 21; “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when [read, “so that"] the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouths of his holy prophets since the world began.” He had been before preached to them, but it is the same Jesus that had been spoken of to them. We cannot apply it to the Holy Ghost, for it was the Holy Ghost then come down who spoke by Peter and declared that He should come whom the heavens had then received. In Acts 17:30, 31, the apostle in testifying that though God winked at the times of their ignorance, He now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: because He hath appointed a day in the which He will judge the world (i.e., this habitable earth) in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained, whereof He hath given. assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.
The distinctive resurrection of the saints will be at His coming. 1 Cor. 15:23: “But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits: afterward they that are Christ's at His coming.”
Ephesians and Galatians are the only two books in Scripture in which you do not find the coming of the Lord. The Galatians had got off the foundation of faith absolute justification by faith in Christ; and Paul was obliged to return to the first principles of justification. The Epistle to the Ephesians takes the opposite extreme, and you see the Church in Christ in heaven so that it cannot speak of Christ coming to receive it. It is viewed as now united to Him there. But we shall find constant reference to it in the other epistles that it is a point kept before the mind for present, practical effect.
Phil. 3:19, 20, 21: “Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. For our conversation is in heaven from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
Col. 3:1, 2, 3, 4: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
In the Thessalonians it is the main subject of both epistles. In the first Epistle, except the warning in the fifth chapter, it is the blessedness of it to the saints; in the second epistle, the judicial character, though the glory of the saints is included in it, for when He executes judgment on the living we shall appear with Him in glory.
1 Tim. 6:14: “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The apostle exhorts Timothy to go on diligently and faithfully looking for the appearing. When the word of God is speaking of joy to the saints, it is the coming. The moment he speaks of responsibility to the world or to the saints, it is always His appearing. What would have been the use of his saying to Timothy to keep the commandment until His appearing, if it were not practically a present expectation; and then, how mighty its power on the conscience (not the very highest motive, but one we need)? And if through grace the Lord has delayed His coming, not willing that any should perish, those who have acted on that expectation will have lost no fruit of their fidelity: it will find its recompense in that day. 2 Tim. 4:8: “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them that love His appearing, “Love!” do you love, can you love, that which will put a stop to everything that is pleasant in the world? it asks the heart. How does this mark a spirit entirely in contrast with that of the world?
Heb. 2:5-6, “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?” The world to come is the habitable earth. Christ is now at God's right hand till God puts all things under His feet. In chap. 9:24, “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true: but entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” There was a state of probation before man was turned out of paradise. Since then man has indeed been tried up to the death of Christ, whether law or prophets or the mission of God's Son could win him back, but in vain. What man finds out now is, that he is lost; but then, that when man's sin was complete, God's work began, and redemption is by the cross on which man crucified the Lord. Sin was complete then: but He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. That work is completed and those who through grace believe and have part in it await the same Savior to come again for their final deliverance.
James 5:8. Be ye also patient: stablish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Here again we see how it is presented as a present motive for patience and to be looked for in daily life as sustaining the soul in patience yet as that which was to change the whole state of the world.
In 1 Peter we have a remarkable testimony to the order of God's ways in this respect. First, the prophets who learned, in studying their own prophecies, that what they testified was not to be fulfilled in their day; next, the gospel, but this not the fulfillment. In it the things are reported with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. The saints are called on to be sober and hope to the end for the grace to be brought to them at the appearing of Jesus Christ, whom, having not seen, we love. The time of the saints receiving the promise is the appearing of Christ. 1 Peter 1:10-13.
In second Peter you may remark that he makes the slighting this promise, the calling it in question because the world was going on as it had, to be the sign of the scoffers of the last days.
In 1 John it is mentioned in chapter 2:23, for the conscience as ground of warning, but in the third chapter 1-3 we have it amply used for the heart and walk of the saints. Now are we sons of God. It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is: and he that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure. Our blessed and assured hope is to be like Christ Himself: this we shall be when He appears. The present effect of this special hope is that the saint purifies himself even as He is pure seeks to be as like Him now as possible, takes his part with Himself at His appearing as his motive and standard of walk.
Jude 14. “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of His saints.” The epistle is striking in this; it shows the decline of the church, the false brethren coming in unawares who in character designated the state of the professing church in the last days and the object of the judgment of the Lord when He would appear.
The whole book of Revelation refers to this; it is an account of the preparatory judgment of God, on to chapter 19, when the Lord comes forth to execute judgment. He has accomplished the work of salvation, and is sitting at the right hand of God, and then comes to set all things right. This makes His coming (besides the righteous display of His own glory, of God's eternal Son as man the center of all things) of such importance. It alone actually makes good the plans and counsels of God Glory is founded on His first coming. That morally speaking surpasses all glory. It is the absolute display of what God is, when evil is come in. But at His second coming only the actual result will be made manifest. He comes to receive the Church to Himself, the witness of sovereign grace, and to order the world (subject to Him in the power of His kingdom) in blessing, and so display the government of God. Till He comes neither can take place. We enjoy the full revelation of Him from whom all that blessing flows, and enjoy it here in a nature suited to it and flowing from it; but we wait for the results for ourselves and for this burdened world. We love His appearing. How is it with you? Are you linked with the world He subverts when He comes, or with Him who brings the fullness of blessing, though with judgment on what hindered it? Were He to come now, would it be your awaited joy and delight, or does it alarm and try your hearts? The Lord give you to answer before His face.
I have sought this evening to show, you how it forms the constant topic of Scripture, and enters as a present expectation into the whole structure of the habits of thought of those who were taught by the apostles, by the Spirit of God Himself how its loss was the sign of the church's decline and sinking into worldliness and the world. I leave it to the blessed Spirit of God to bring this divine teaching home to all our consciences. To wait truly for Christ, we must have our consciences purged by His first coming, and our hearts fixed on Him that is to come.

Fragment

The ground of settled peace, in the midst of a world of sin and sorrow, is to assure my soul that God is true when He says, that He so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,

Fragment

Christ, not my forgiveness, is the object of faith, though my forgiveness follows as a consequence revealed by God.

Fragments Christ's Lordship

We are brought into connection with the Lord Jesus not only in his character of grace, but of lordship. What is the first mark he has stamped on your heart? This—that Jesus must be known and honored; I belong to him; I must yield myself to him in everything. Are you doing your own will or his? If you have large thoughts of grace, magnificent thoughts of glory to come, but have not said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” you are not on right ground. You have to come to this— “my own plans go for nothing, I now belong to another.” if you have large thoughts of grace, has it taught you to yield your own will to God's? If you have large thoughts of your privileges, do you see your responsibility? If you are talking of glory, is it connected with obedience? You may have right thoughts, nicely packed together, as for a long voyage, but they are of no good to you, if there is not in you the spirit of obedience

German Rationalists and the Bible: Fragment

They comment on a book of which they know nothing, the object and import of which they have not even studied. An immense scope of connected thought and system, reaching from genesis to the melting away of time into eternity—all its parts hanging together, and developing every form of relationship between God and man, historically pursued, yet morally and individually realized, in which each part fits into the other, like the pieces of a dissected map, proving the perfectness and completeness of the whole; all this system, I say, making a complete whole, in absolute unity, yet written (for written it was, as the best testimony proves) at long intervals, over a space of some 1500 years, pursued through every various condition in which man can be placed, of ignorance, darkness, and light, with principles brought out into intended contrast, as the law and the gospel, yet never losing its perfect and absolute unity, or the relationship of its parts, all this is past over by these skeptics. They are not conscious of the existence of it. They have about as much knowledge of the bible as a babe who took the dissected map, and would put together two parts of the antipodes, because they were colored red, and would look pretty

God's Word, Not the Opinion of the Day

IT is not astonishing, I say, that one who blames the Lord and H is Apostles, (so as to make their use of Scripture no kind of guide to its meaning or purpose, but assumes full right to get at the truth by giving his own application, and to get freedom promised by Christ through it)—that he should put Christ and all truth out of sight in a Christian world, look to politics governing it, and take indifference and no truth as his standard and his hope. But it is all a delusion. Those who buy the truth and sell it not will hold to it, and take Christ's word as the revelation and standard of it for their hearts, owning the Apostles as ministers of it by the Spirit. Many will take refuge in it, too, from sorrow, and passion's rage on the other side, when the, dissolution looked for takes place. But the present working will be this: the philosophical indifference of rationalists will palsy sturdy Protestant orthodoxy, which till now held its ground against Popery. Popery, which does not rest on truth a bit more, but on authority, and in its nature is essentially infidel, does know what it wants and what it wills, and will pursue it constantly, cleverly, and energetically, and all hold of truth will be gone in the country. This state of things the Dissenters will help on, and then find how weak they are. The main effect of this rationalism will be giving power for a time to what knows its own mind, that is, to Popery. The rationalism itself has no future at all. Of what would it be the future? Of inquiring and waiting till the Pope and infidels take the New Testament for a common ground? They can destroy, perhaps, faith in the truth (where it is not in the heart), but produce nothing.
I believe the Word of God abides forever. I believe Christ, our Lord, has all power in heaven and in earth; and for the soul who loves the truth, I believe it is a very bright and blessed time. I admit that what old 'associations may attach men to, is disappearing. Every one sees it, though how much we have to thank God that in this country it is peacefully; though I doubt that Christian or religious liberty will last very long as it is now, the revival will help to destroy it: but as outward props tumble and disappear, for those who have Christ in their hearts, and to whom the truth is precious, He will be more and more all, and the truth have infinitely more power and price. They will live more in Christianity, and less in the Christian world formed by phases of the αιωνος τουτου. I feel thoroughly that they are times most simple for those who love the truth, and blessed ones; soon I trust to be replaced by heavenly and better ones still. Only Christ and the truth must be of course all.

On the Epistle to the Hebrews

I have no doubt that the Epistle to the Hebrews is Paul's. The omission of his name has raised a question on it from early days. The Roman Church did not receive it for a long time, but I am satisfied it did at the first. I judge that Clement's epistle, addressed as it is, in the name of the whole Roman Church, is a plain proof of it. The desire to get rid of passages in chapters 6 and 10, which seemed to favor a peculiar rigidity of discipline, led that church to cast a doubt upon it, on account of the controversies it was engaged in on the subject; the epistle's being addressed, as it evidently is, to Jews connected with Jerusalem and Palestine, making it less known than those addressed to Gentile churches.
Its inspiration, I hesitate not to say, stands far above all question. It is different in style from the Apostle Paul's familiar epistles addressed in intimacy, if we except that to the Romans, to particular congregations he knew. In this last, also, we find a long course of elaborate argument and use of Jewish scriptures. Still it is addressed to them in a character which extended to those he had never seen. The Epistle to the Hebrews is a treatise elaborately composed as a last warning to the Jews, whose polity was just going to be put an end to, and urging them to have done with it as ready to vanish away, and to go out without the camp. The contrary conduct had been borne with hitherto. Now this was urgent. Who so fit for this as Paul? It was at the close of his career; for he refers to Timothy being set at liberty, and himself as free, and to the saints in Italy.
The neglect of his counsel produced the bastard Christianity (if Christianity it can be called) of Nazarenes and the still worse sect of Ebionites, whose hatred to Paul, consequently, was most violent. They rejected, indeed, all his writings.
The subject of the Epistle to the Hebrews is of the highest and most elevated character. It affords instruction which no other part of scripture does on the personal glory of Christ; yet it confirms, and is confirmed by all. It treats these subjects with a method and reasoning drawn from the depth of divine relationship, and yet possessing perfect clearness, a union which flows from divine inspiration alone, and characterizes it. Passages of scripture (the connection of which with the whole scope of the divine mind, as revealed in the word, is brought out when Christ is applied as a key to them) are quoted in a connection which, when the link of thought is given in Him, has a beauty and evidence which leaves no doubt of the divine hand that has been at work—a connection which shows, when given, that this alone could be their own full bearing, and yet, without this blessed key, remained locked up to the human mind; the connection thus made plain affording a complete testimony to Christ, and, at the same time, by Him, not only a proof of inspiration, but a divine fullness to the word itself, and such a combination of it as proves the unity of mind in the whole book, and that mind to be God's who alone could conceive or unfold such a plan.
Now the Hebrews furnish, in a very remarkable manner, such unlocking and connection of scripture, and with a power of reasoning and unity of scope and purpose, pursued with an energy of mind and thought, which peculiarly characterizes Paul. The blessed Apostle is specially occupied with the counsels of God, the divine plan of dispensation: as John with the manifestation and communication of divine life; Peter with the pilgrim character of it here, connected with the hope of a suffering and rejected Savior, the Son of the living God, whom he had known, and knew to be risen and gone up, and hoped for again.
With the dispensational character of Paul's writings the Epistle to the Hebrews clearly classes itself. It has a more finished style, as being an essay. It is, in its contents and reasonings, suited to Jews, because addressed to them. Perfectly satisfied that it is scripture, and a part of it whose loss would be irreparable, having the stamp of the divine gift upon it, I do not in the least doubt it is Paul's from its character and the details alluded to in it. The reader is aware that in the 2nd Epistle of Peter it is expressly stated that Paul did write to the Jews. The omission of his name is perfectly according to God. He was not apostle of the circumcision, he was a doctor for all that he could teach in the Church of God. In the form of the epistle he was in his only true divinely given place in thus writing. The effect of this is seen, and so it ought to be, in the style.
Every one admits the difference of style; it is natural that that of an elaborately drawn-up essay should be different from the style of familiar epistles within the exercise of Paul's apostolic office. The question is, what conclusion is to be drawn from it in connection with other far stronger and more important points, which affect the authorship of the Epistle. The doubt of its divine inspiration, whatever Rome may have thought for its own reasons during two centuries, would only excite pity in my mind. There are proofs of inspiration which have a character that infidelity does not touch, being connected with the development of divine counsels and wisdom in the word, of which the infidel does not possess the elements, and cannot, because he is an infidel. I admit that these are intellectual proofs to the believer; but they do astonishingly secure and confirm the faith of him who has some acquaintance with these counsels—just as in the case of a perfect tally, or a broken piece of metal, he who has only one piece has no proof as to the other. But he who has both, has not a doubt as to the connection of one with the other. And divine things are yet more certain; for man could imitate, in material things, in some cases: (though, in most, doubt would be irrational:) in divine things, he cannot. The connection is unknown till discovered.
Difficulties, we have seen, have arisen as to the Epistle to the Hebrews, from Paul's not naming himself as an apostle. Besides what I have said as to his not being apostle of the circumcision, there is another point I would notice here. It connects itself with another objection to his being the author; his saying that it was “confirmed unto us by those who heard him.”
Now, if we examine the manner of presenting things in this epistle; if Paul be the author, he could not have introduced himself as an apostle, writing to them as such.
He is addressing the Hebrews, who had already faith in the scriptures, and basing all his argument on them in unfolding the person and offices of the Lord Jesus Himself. It was not apostolic announcement of doctrine in the way of revelation with authority, but application of admitted scriptures to Christ, to show that He ought to be such, and be on high, according to them; and to show the necessary coming in of the new covenant. Old Testament scriptures were necessarily his authority here; the whole matter he had in hand, to which his apostolic authority added nothing. Nay, their authority was what he had to insist on -using the word of wisdom in applying them.
Now this he does in a manner which entirely shuts out all possibility of introducing his own apostolic authority. He brings in God speaking Himself in the Old Testament—an acknowledged truth with the Jews. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath, in these last days, spoken to us in [the] Son; or, more nearly, as Son—that is, in the person of the Son. Now this took a ground which left no room for beginning: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ. God Himself, who had spoken of old by the prophets, had now spoken in the Son Himself. Hence we have that which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, that is, it was the great Prophet Himself, nay, the Lord Himself, who had spoken to the Jews. And hence, as referring to what He had said when on the earth, the personal address of Jesus, he speaks of those who had heard Him; God bearing them witness by signs, &c. Now that was exactly the way in which God had dealt with the Jews: and the Christian testimony itself had been appropriately and peculiarly brought before them; and by which the nation had been made responsible, and not by Paul's teaching. But it was in writing to them just his place to refer to it; and peculiarly his to unfold the whole glorious position of Christ as mounted on high, (as indeed it was given to him only to declare,) and his, to put Jews in immediate connection with heaven, paving the way for the passing away of all connected with the old covenant, and exhorting them to go outside the camp, as being no longer of God. The great sacrifice of atonement was offered, the high priest was gone within with the blood, the body was burnt without; the middle holy place of Judaism, suited to its day, was naught. In spirit we were within, in suffering in the flesh without, bearing the blessed victim's reproach.
Now the unfolding of this was just Paul's place, not Peter's. Yet it was just his place too to refer to that very testimony which made the Jews responsible, which was not his, but which he derives down from God speaking by the prophets, and then as in the person of the Son (ἐν υἱῶ); thus making it God's direct testimony to them—i.e., the Jews, with whom he joins himself as a Jew, in the most beautiful and gracious way (as he had said “the fathers,” not your fathers, and only bringing in even apostles themselves as confirming it). He does not associate them with God's testimony, or with the Lord's; only they come in to assure it to others, and even then he brings in God bearing them witness, and then proceeds to exalt and glorify Christ's person. In a word, he addresses himself perfectly to Jews as such, yet to bring them out of their Judaism. Had he not been thus above it, he could not have given it the place he does in the character of the testimony given to it. It was taking them high enough up to the source of the testimony, to lift them above the system formed beside it. Indeed, prophecy was the link of God with Israel, when, in the way of righteousness under ordinances, He could have nothing to say to them. He interfered by a prophet to bring them out or back. “By a prophet he brought them out of Egypt; by a prophet were they saved.” It was God's sovereign way when there was no other. God's great prophet had now appeared to lead them out for a better salvation; He was the apostle of their profession. Peter could not lead them out of a Jewish position: he had ministered to them still in and under it. Paul's ministry as an apostle was directed elsewhere. He graciously makes Christ their Apostle, while owning in its place that of all the apostles among them, yet as hearers of the Lord.

Hope

Hope enters the heart, so to speak, as a physician or as a conqueror, to heal in the day of sorrow and disappointment, or to be the ascendant in the day of prosperity.
It is seen in the antediluvian saints, in the Genesis—fathers, in Joseph in Gen. 1; in Israel, in Ex. 12; in Moses, in Num. 10:29; in David, in 1 Chron. 29:15, in one or other of these.
The Lord had it as a conqueror in John 12:24, as a relief in Heb. 12:2. We are called to it in each of these ways.
The Spirit forms it in the heart as necessarily as faith, Ex. 12:1, 7-11 Thess. 1:9-10, Rom. 5:12.
Different objects it apprehends—rest after conflict (2 Thess. 1, 2 Tim. 4); a pure kingdom after a defiled world (2 Peter); Christ Himself (Luke 12:36, Matt. 25:4, 1 John 3:2-3); a harvest after a first-fruits (1 Cor. 15).

How Far Did Christ's Advent Fulfil Prophecy?

This is not the time for judging the earth in connection with God's people, Israel, (though providentially, of course, all is under His hand), but for grace, heavenly hope, and suffering with Christ nothing can be clearer in Scripture than this. Christ did not judge the earth when He came—He refused to do it in the least thing; He was condemned by its judges wielding externally God's power and authority in the place of judgment, Jewish and Gentile. All judgment was set aside, and the just One was the victim of man's judgment and the bearer of God's wrath. This was, indeed, morally the judgment of the world and its prince, the enemy. But the execution of judgment is yet wholly future; and so is the resulting accomplishment of Divine purpose. And this is the trite answer to skeptical cavils against a second fulfillment. The purpose of God declared in prophecy has never been fulfilled at cell: Christ's sufferings have been, no doubt, but nothing else save the consequent dispersion of his earthly people; but this is not God's purpose (properly speaking). Particular local judgments have been executed; but neither are these His purpose: that remains wholly unaccomplished. God has not yet shown Himself according to his purpose. When the wicked shall be cut off, who are often adversaries of His power, a King will reign in righteousness, and the Prince of Peace will exercise His dominion in the world. Christ at his first coming declares that it was not to bring peace but a sward: shall then this blessed, character of Prince of peace remain unfulfilled? Certainly not; for the moment sin had the upper hand in the world, because God was graciously doing a still greater work, and showing Himself above all man's futile sin in making it the instrument of an eternal and heavenly salvation. But this earth will be the scene of peace and blessing under the government of God, wielded by the hand of the Son of man, whom He has set over the works of His hands. Grace meanwhile has made us His joint-heirs.

Introductory Address

No. 1. Vol. 1—June 1, 1856
The name of this periodical is not one which I should have chosen, as it wears a pretentious air -least to an unfriendly eye. But the project was unknown to me till after the first number, or the second, was in the hands of its readers. To the third I contributed the first of a series. From the eighth number the editorial care was mine; not long after the entire responsibility devolved on me. Though never liking the title as a question of taste and feeling, I saw in it no sufficiently serious objection to risk the confusion which must have ensued from a change of name. If the work be a poor “Treasury,” as I cannot but feel, “the Bible,” at any rate, is in God's grace a rich and unfailing source of supply.
Accordingly, whilst the prophetic word has not been neglected throughout the past eleven years, I may say, of its course, the reader can bear witness that there has been the continual desire to draw from every province of Scripture, avoiding no truth which God has revealed for our instruction. The person and the work of Christ, the expectations of Israel from of old, the prospects of the world, the hope of the Christian and of the Church, the dispensations and the kingdom of God, have all been treated, most of these subjects frequently and by various pens, and this with a direct view to the practical profit of souls. Exposition of Scripture (Old Testament and New, portions and whole books), has had, and I trust, ever will have a large place. So too questions of the day for good or ill have been discussed, with occasional reviews or notices of such books &c. as handle them. Neither exhortation to Christians nor appeal to the unconverted will be looked for in vain in these pages. Critical difficulties, faults of textual reading in Greek and Hebrew, emendations of translation, and corrections of prevalent interpretation, may not interest so extensive a class, but they have ever had a prominent place here; because the aim has been to consider such Christians especially as desire to make progress in the things of God. Now, mistake in text or version or exegesis arrests the mind in proportion to the value given to God's word. Hence, to such as prize that word above all things, the exceeding preciousness of every fresh insight into its true bearing, and the importance of removing every hindrance.
As for the writers, no matter of interest to the believer, or of bearing on Christ's glory, will they exclude or evade; though it is assuredly desired to avoid the discussion of every unprofitable question, and to rid all things discussed as much as possible of a controversial air. Papers of real value from any Christian will of course be admissible, save where known evil practice, or indifference to Christ, ruins the credit of the profession of His name. In the first edition, some papers appeared which it seems due to truth to replace, and notices of ephemeral matter are consigned to oblivion. But care will be taken to adhere to the former paging and subjects as closely as can be, so as to avoid confusion in making up volumes.
May the gracious Lord deign to use the work increasingly to the edification of souls and to His own glory. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.”—[ED.]

Is Not Obedience Too Much Forgotten When You Insist on Justification by Faith?

Q. Is not obedience too much forgotten when you insist on justification by faith? Does not Paul exhort us to “fear” and to “labor” to enter into that rest. E. P.
A. Scripture maintains obedience and practice in the right place; that is, good works do not make, but they manifest and become the Christian. They cannot exist before a man is regenerate; though they may to a certain extent before he enjoys peace with God and the consciousness of acceptance. He who is not a believer, is by nature a child of wrath, and inevitably fulfills the desires of the flesh and of the mind. “There is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” They travel the same road, each his own way, it is true, but all with their backs toward God. Some may have traveled long and fast, others a comparatively short way and time; these may be outstripped by those in self-destructive madness and rebellion, but both agree alas! in their terrible condition of sin, ruin, and death. To speak to such of obedience as a means of salvation simply proves entire ignorance of ourselves and of God—shows that, like Israel at Sinai, we confound responsibility with power. Doubtless, men ought to obey, but can they? Beyond controversy, God gives Christians the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. Therefore are we to be partakers of the afflictions of the gospel, according to the power of God, who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, NOT according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace (2 Tim. 1:7-9). This is the divine description of a Christian accepted, but not yet glorified. The apostle clearly speaks of believers on earth—not in heaven, where are no afflictions of the gospel, and no temptations to forget our holy calling. On the other hand, the rest in Heb. 4 is future rest—the rest that remains for God's people. We are there viewed as journeying through the wilderness, and in danger of carelessness, ease, and settling down. Hence the apostle exhorts to fear and labor. Had the question been of justification, he would have said, Do not fear, do not labor; “for to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

Is the Manifestation to Be Before Brethren of the Lord Simply?

2 Cor. 5:10. is the manifestation to be before brethren, or the Lord simply?
I find nothing in scripture which speaks of manifestation to brethren. The question is apt to connect itself very closely with the state of the conscience. it presses on it when there is anything from which it is not entirely purged before God. There may be a conviction that God will not impute without the conscience being de facto pure or purged. When purged before God or practically pure in walk (though this, as the apostle says, does not justify), the soul is not anxious about being manifested at the judgment-seat, because it is manifested to God now. This is of great practical importance.
The passages on the subject, which will be seen to be of two classes, are these—Rom. 14:12. So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God, connected with verse 10, We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. 2 Cor. 5:10. For we must all be manifested (appear) before the judgment-seat of Christ to receive the things done in the body.
1 Cor. 4:4, 5. For I know nothing by myself (no evil of myself), yet am I not hereby justified: he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who shall bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and shall make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
Rom. 2:16. In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men's hearts according to my gospel.
This is one class of texts. The other here follows: Matt. 10:26. Fear them not, therefore, for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, and hid that shall not be known.
Mark 4:22. Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel or under a bed, and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid which shall not be manifested, neither was anything, kept secret, but that it should come abroad.
Luke 8:16, 17. No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel or putteth it under a bed, but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. For nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest, neither anything hid that shall not be known and come abroad. Take heed, therefore, how ye hear, etc.
Chap. 12:1, 2. Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy, for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be known.
Three great principles are here presented. First, the great general truth, that man can keep nothing secret (though it may seem so), and can conceal nothing. All must be in light. God must have the upper hand and light shall prevail. Secondly, that we are to give an account of ourselves to God. And, thirdly, that we are not to fear the secret machinations of men, but to fear God and bear witness according to the light given to us. When I say man can conceal nothing, it is scarcely absolute enough. There is nothing secret but that it should be manifested.
This is a very important principle. It maintains the authority of God as light. For could anything be withdrawn from this, it would escape His power and judgment, and evil be maintained independent of Him. It maintains also integrity of conscience.
In the second point, our personal responsibility to God is maintained in everything. Each one shall give an account of himself. We may be helped by every vessel of grace and light in the Church, but man cannot meddle with our individual responsibility to God. Each one shall give an account of himself.
The third point maintains confidence in God, in presence of what might seem otherwise a wickedness which was of a depth with which it was impossible to deal, and for which Christian truthfulness was no match.
All this is to maintain the conscience in the light before God. Where there is anxiety as to manifestation before the brethren, shame before men has still power over the heart, and will; self-love and character govern the mind. We are not in the light before God, nor has sin its right character in our eyes, because self has yet its power and place.
All is to be brought into the light, all thought of concealment rooted out and destroyed in the heart; but God will not maintain the influence of men and reputation by presenting a manifestation to them in the word, which is exactly what falsifies the moral judgment; and He does not. If the heart is comforting itself with the thought it will not be known, He breaks through the heart's deceit relentlessly, and says it will be known: everything hidden shall come to light. He does not neutralize His own authority and destroy the purity of moral principle, in saying it will be known before your brethren in that day.
Everything will be in the light, thank God; it is for the blessing, and for the joy, too, of every upright soul.
It is not necessarily simply in the day of judgment that this takes place: the Lord may deal with it now. “Thou hast done this thing secretly,” says God, by Nathan, to David, “but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.”
Thus the bringing of sin to light and judgment may be here from the hand of God. Men are chastened of the Lord that they may not be condemned with the world.
One passage remains, demanding more particular notice—2 Cor. 5— “For we must be all manifested before the judgment-seat of the Christ, that each may receive the things done by the body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad.”
I would first say, to remove what obscures the passage, that I am satisfied that the passage is general, and embraces all men. I cannot conceive how the context can leave a shadow of doubt on this point in any mind. It ought not. It is not a question of the time of appearing, but of the fact. Secondly, it is very important to remark, that as regards the saints there is no calling in question their righteousness. The manner of their arrival before the judgment-seat, and their state in arriving clearly show this, as well as the declaration of the Lord (John 5), that they shall not come into judgment. But how do they arrive on high? “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” Christ comes Himself to complete His work of perfect grace in bringing us there. In that state we “wait for the Lord Jesus Christ [as] Savior, who shall change our vile body and fashion it like his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself.” (Phil. 3:20.) We shall be already like Christ; conformed to the image of God's Son, bearing the image of the heavenly. He who sits to judge according to His righteousness, according to what He is, is our righteousness.
The judgment of the saints begins when righteousness and glory are complete, when we are the same as Christ in them by grace.
What immense gain will our manifestation now be to ourselves! We shall know as we are known. If now, when perfect peace is possessed before God in a purged conscience, the Christian looks back at all his past life before and since his conversion, what a lesson of grace, patience, holy government for his good, that he may be partaker of His holiness—of care against unseen dangers, of instruction and of love, will his new history afford the Christian! How much more, when freed from the very nature which produced the evil in him, he knows as he is known, and can trace now the perfectness of God's ways with him! It will immensely increase and enhance his apprehension of what God has been for him, and of His patient perfect grace and purpose of love. It is surely a solemn thing, but of immense price and value to us. It is all wrought out in the conscience, as we learn from Rom. 14:12.
Here it is the fact. Remark the true effect on a right state of mind. First, not a thought of judgment as to righteousness has any place whatever. The judgment seat only awakens that love which thinks of those still exposed to it. “Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” Secondly, it is realized so as to put him who realizes it responsibly in the presence of God. Now “we are manifested to God.” Oh, what a healthful and blessed thing this is for the soul! The rest is a mere effect readily hoped for— “I trust that we are manifested in your conscience.” The other considerations produced a conduct proper to have this effect; but if a man was before God, it was of little matter—did not affect the soul, save in the desire of others' good and Christ's glory. This double effect will certainly be produced in any such manifestation before others, and we then shall as certainly desire nothing else. The shame of a nature we have left will not be there then; the just judgment of evil will. I say this, however, in respect of the present condition of the soul. Anxiety on this point is a proof that the soul is not wholly in the sight of God. There it disappears because we are wholly there. Scripture never brings in the thought of brethren as concerned in this manifestation, and could not; but it does maintain, in the fullest way, manifestation in the light, so that if the heart reserves anything—has not brought it wholly out before God, it should be ill at ease. We are certainly perfectly manifested to the Lord, consciously I mean (for we always are so), and to ourselves. If it be for His glory that anything should be known to the saints also, we shall not regret it then; but our proper full manifestation is certainly to God, and in our own souls. All that is needed to verify the government of God will, I doubt not, be made manifest. All that has been, through evil, sought to be hidden, so that the heart was false, the counsel of the heart evil, will be brought to light; but where men have walked in the light, the counsels of the heart, however man may have judged them, will be made plain; for in that day God will judge the secrets of men's hearts. His grace and His government may have wrought all this in this world, and some men's sins and good works go before to judgment, but those that are otherwise cannot be hid.
My answer then is, that the brethren are never, and can never be those, manifestation to or before whom can be the subject of the revelation of scripture—everything being brought into light is. God is light, and the light manifests everything; He will bring every secret work into judgment. Further, as to responsibility, our thoughts are directed to God and to the judgment-seat of Christ. But all that is needed to display God's ways and government, and His approval of His saints will surely be brought out, as the passages quoted clearly prove. The saint loves the light, as he loves and blesses God for the grace which enables him to stand in it, and makes him meet to be partaker of the inheritance of the saints in it. This, though doubtless imperfect, is, I believe, the true scriptural answer to the question. Where the thought of shame is introduced, it is referred entirely to the presence of Christ, and regards the service and work done for Him (1 John 2:28).

People and Land of Israel: 1. Jews After the Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus

It must be evident to the believer that the Jew is of the last importance in God's history of the world. “When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.” The dispersion of the postdiluvians was not a casual chance-medley circumstance, but so ordered of God as to admit Israel as their earthly center. This has been verified in their past history, though suspended at present; but prophecy discloses that every jot and tittle of the divine scheme is to be fulfilled in the grand scenes of the last days.
The philosophic infidel does not of course see—probably may deride—the purpose of God as to His earthly people. Nevertheless, the Jew has haunted many all unbelieving mind, has broken in like a specter upon his dreamy materialism. The too celebrated Hegel often and long thought upon Hebrew history, often changed his thoughts: his life long,” says his biographer, “it tormented him as a dark enigma.” If Christ crucified proved to the Jews a stumbing-block, the Jews are to the Gentiles an abiding sign which the wisdom of this world vainly essays to fathom and expound.
Of the history of this people, terrible from their beginning hitherto, Dr. Edersheim has given us some instructive chapters, the first fruits of his studies in a department full of interest. After an introductory sketch of the Hebrew commonwealth, we are presented with a graphic yet touching picture, the “closing scenes of the Jewish war of independence.” Let the reader judge:-
“The stars twinkled just as they had done in happier days over the burning walls of Masada. Beneath rolled the Dead Sea—the monument of foreign wrath and war; in the distance, as far as the eye could reach, the desolate landscape bore the marks of the oppressor. Before them was the camp of the Roman, who watched with anxiety for his prey and the morrow. All was silent in Masada. Defense now seemed impossible, and certain death stared the devoted garrison in the face. Despair settled on the stoutest, heart, deepened by the presence and the well-known fate of the women and children. Naught was heard but the crackling of burning timbers, and the ill-suppressed moans of the wives and children of the garrison. Then for the last time Eleazar summoned his warriors. In language such as fierce despair alone could have inspired on his, or brooked on their part, he reminded them of their solemn oath—to gain freedom or die. One of these alternatives alone remained for them—to die. The men of war around him had not quailed before any enemy, yet they shrank from. the proposal of their leader. A low murmur betokened their disapprobation. Then flashed Eleazar's eye. Pointing over the burning rampart to the enemy, and in the distance towards Jerusalem, he related with fearful truthfulness, the fate which awaited them on the morrow—to be slain by the enemy, or to be reserved for the arena; to have their wives devoted in their sight to shame, and their children to torture and slavery. Were they to choose this alternative, or a glorious death, and with it liberty—a death in obedience to their oath, in devotedness to their God and to their country? The appeal had its effect. It was not sudden madness, nor a momentary frenzy, which seized these men when they brought forth, to immolate them on the altar of their liberty, their wives, their children, their chattels, and ranged themselves each by the side of all that had been dear to him in the world. The last glimmer of hope had died out, and with the determination of despair, the last defenders of Judea prepared to perish in the flames which enveloped its last fortress. First, each heaped together his household gear, associated with the pleasures of other days, and set fire to it. Again they pressed to their hearts their wives and children. Bitter were the tears wrung from these iron men; yet the sacrifice was made unshrinkingly, and each plunged his sword into the hearts of his wife and children. Now they laid themselves down beside them, and locked them in tender embrace—now the embrace of death. Cheerfully they presented their breasts to ten of their number, chosen by lot to put the rest of their brethren to death. Of these ten, one had again been fixed upon to slay the remaining nine. Having finished his bloody work, he looked around to see whether any of the band yet required his service. But all was silent. The last survivor then approached as closely as possible to his own family and fell upon his sword. Nine hundred bodies covered the ground.
“Morning dawned upon Masada, and the Romans eagerly approached its walls—but within was the silence of death. A feint was apprehended, and the soldiers advanced cautiously, raising a shout, as if the defenders on the wall implored the help of their brethren. Then two women, who, with five children, had concealed themselves in vaults during the murderous scene of the preceding evening, came forth from their retreat to tell the Romans the sad story. So fearfully strange did it sound, that their statement was scarcely credited. Slowly the Romans advanced; then rushing through the flames, they penetrated into the court of the palace. There lay the lifeless bodies of the garrison and their families. It was not a day of triumph even to the enemy, but one of awe and admiration. They buried the dead and withdrew, leaving a garrison. ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem that killest the prophets,' &c. ‘Therefore, behold, your house is left unto you desolate.'
“Thus terminated the war of Jewish nationality. Various causes conspired to make this contest one of the most obstinate ever witnessed. The Roman legions were led by the ablest generals of the empire, and instigated by the recollection of the shameful defeat which they had sustained at the commencement of the war, and by the obstinate resistance now made by a small and unwarlike race whom they had long affected to despise. Nor was the issue of the struggle unimportant to the Roman state. Defeat under any circumstances would have been the first step in the decadence of an empire whose provinces bore so disproportionate a relation to the dominant country. Besides, Roman rule had never been firmly established eastward of Judea, and on that account the latter country presented an important military position. Finally, the triumph of the Jews would have been fatal to the prestige of Rome in the East, and probably become the signal for a general rising in the neighboring provinces. On the other hand, the Jews fought for national existence, for political and religious liberty, for their lives, for their hearths and homes. Flushed at first by victory, relying on the zeal and enthusiasm of the whole nation, and defending themselves in their own country, and among its fastnesses against the foreign invaders, the Jews fought with the despair of men who knew what awaited them in case of defeat. Besides, they relied on promised succors from their brethren in the East, or at least on a diversion in their favor.
Nor was this contest merely one for national independence; it was essentially also a religious war. Jerusalem was not only a political but also a religious capital. In fighting for their country, the Jews fought also for their religion, which, indeed, was almost inseparable from the soil of Palestine, and hence, as they thought, for the name and cause of their God. Were it requisite, proofs could be readily adduced of this. Even after they had been defeated, it was stated by the theological expositors of popular sentiment, that since the day of the destruction of the temple, God had mourned for the fate of his people, and that joy had become a stranger in the celestial mansions. Hence they constantly reckoned all along on the Divine assistance. The Maccabees had in former times, with a mere handful of men, defied the Syrian hosts, and why should not similar success be vouchsafed to them under more advantageous circumstances? And even if it turned out otherwise, surely it could only happen in judgment, and for a season, that their God had left His covenant people, His special favorites, for whose sakes even heaven and earth had been created, and who alone fulfilled the end of their being by glorifying their Maker. Whatever, then, might be their divinely appointed fate, to conquer or to die, the Zealots were ready to meet it in such a cause. These views were indeed intimately connected with the whole of the carnal tendency in their religion to which we have already, and shall by and by more fully advert. To belong outwardly to the chosen race constituted a person a member of the kingdom of God. The place and rites of the temple were identical with acceptable worship; outward observances, and a mere logical development, became substitutes for spiritual apprehension of the truth, for love and devotedness. Thus as the form was being more and more cultivated to the neglect of the spirit, it appeared also more and more precious, and its final destruction, by an overthrow of the Jewish commonwealth, seemed almost impossible. Nor were the expectations entertained about that time of the sudden appearance of a Messiah, who, long hid, would suddenly come forth to deliver his people from the enemies which threatened them, without their effect on the minds of the people. Though the life and death of the blessed Savior had too lately taken place for the leaders of the people lightly to risk the safety of the Synagogue, by bringing Messianic views prominently forward, as they did in an after period in the war under Bar-Cochba, in order to inflame the zeal of their followers, such considerations must no doubt have had some influence. At times these hopes seemed about to be realized. More than once did the balance tremble in favor of the Jews—the Roman generals were in imminent danger—the Roman engines destroyed—the Jews successful—the legions panic-struck or dispirited. Yet the scepter passed finally and irrevocably from Judah, by the same hand which had at first placed it there. Calculating merely the first probabilities of the case, we would say that the war was begun at a most favorable time; and that notwithstanding the various mistakes and disadvantages of the Jews, had there not been treason in the Jewish camp, or had there not been factions and bloody revenge amongst themselves, or had their eastern allies made a diversion in their favor, they would have obtained the object of their desires, or at least have had a greater measure of success in their defense. But true it is that ‘the history of the world is the judgment of the world.'
“About the same time that the Jewish war terminated, Rome attained the climax of her grandeur. Hostile movements had taken place in other provinces, but these had now been suppressed, and Vespasian opened once again the temple of peace. But this prosperity was of short duration. We do not mean to connect the destruction of Jerusalem and the decline of Rome's Empire as cause and effect; but it is certain that the former immediately preceded the latter event. The insurrections in the northern parts of the empire were only quelled for a time, the fire still smoldered under the ashes—it speedily burst forth anew, and destroyed that mighty engine with which the Lord had, in fulfillment of prophecy, punished His people. So it has ever been: the rod of His vengeance, after having served its purpose, has always been speedily broken in pieces.” (pp. 42-47.
Neither our author nor our readers will have reason to regret so long an extract: it is a fair and favorable sample of the volume, and well illustrates both manner and subject-matter. Chapter iii. furnishes a good deal of curious information as regards the dispersed of Israel.
The three following chapters are occupied with the political and religious state of the Jews, and with the history of the synagogue before and subsequent to the destruction of Jerusalem. Next is given a stirring narrative of the last Jewish war under Bar-Cochab, with a sketch of the state of the synagogue afterward. Chapters 9, 10, and 11 have evidently involved no little labor and research, and convey much which cannot be found elsewhere in our language; they are devoted respectively to an account of the social condition, arts and sciences, theology and religious belief of Palestine. The historical thread is again resumed with a notice of the patriarchate under the last pagan Emperors, till its extinction and the final scattering of the Jews. All is wound up with an appendix on these heads: 1, Jewish Calendar, 2, the Wisdom of Ben Sira, 3, Alexandrian Jewish Poetry, 4, Geographical Nations of the Rabbins, and 5, Rabbinical Exegesis.
The following extract from chapter. 11. (Theological science and religious belief in Palestine) will show our readers some of the interesting details in which the latter part of Dr. E.'s volume abounds.
“From internal evidence, and from the accordance of the Septuagint translation of the Pentateuch with that of the Samaritans, it has been inferred that both were originally derived from an old Aramean Targum, to which allusions are made in Jewish writings. It has also been argued that the present LXX was of very gradual origin, while from the frequent variations, the existence of different editions, if not translations, has been inferred. Leaving out of view the mistakes, additions, or emendations by copyists, and its frequent interpolations, there is an internal relationship between the spirit which the LXX breathes, and that of the version of Onkeloz, and of the Targum of Jonathan. Many passages show clearly that the translation was made under Hagadic influences. The learned reader will notice, that the Greek of Josh. 13:22 becomes only intelligible by the Hagada, that Balaain had by magic flown into the air, but that Phineas had thrown him to the ground and killed him in the fall. The translation of 1 Sam. 20:30 is explained by the Hagada, that Jonathan's mother was one of those maidens of Shiloh (Judg. 21) and had of her own accord gone forth to offer herself to haul. The reading in 1 Sam. 28:19 depends upon the legend that apparitions of ghosts were generally in an inverted posture of body, while that of Samuel had come up in the ordinary or straight position. Numerous similar instances might be quoted. Again we find clear traces in the Halacha, as in the translation of Lev. 11:47. Similarly, the rendering of Lev. 19:6, 7, which has commonly been imputed to Alexandrian peculiarities, becomes plain by the Halacha which applies the passage to the intention of those who offered the sacrifice to eat it on the third day, and enjoins that, under these circumstances, the sacrifice may no more be offered. Similarly, the version of Lev. 23:11 is explained by a reference to the Halacha. However, the version of Leviticus is the best in the Pentateuch. It would be easy to multiply instances from other parts of the Bible. Considerable Hagadic additions also occur. Thus, we have in Prov. 6:8, praise of the diligence of the ant; in Josh. 24:30, a Hagadic story about the knives with which Joshua circumcised the Jews, in imitation of a similar Palestinian Hagada about Moses; numerous additions to the book of Esther; an addition to Hag. 2:9, &c. Sometimes verses were left out, or even whole passages transposed. It is well known that the pronunciation of Palestine proper, or Judea, favorably differed from that of Galilee; and this is also transferred to the LXX, which follows more closely the dialect of Palestine. Passing over grammatical and other blunders, contractions, amplifications, and attempts at circumlocution, we notice that sometimes verses are translated in one and left untranslated in another place, as the word “plains” (in one version) in Josh. 11:16, and again in 12:8; or the “children of Solomon's servants,” in Ezra 2:55, while in verse 58 we read the “children of Abdeselma,” &c. Sometimes prepositions are treated as if they formed part of the appellative, while evident traces of having been translated from the Arameau are found in Psa. 60:10, &c.” (pp. 452, 426.)
There are views, particularly in the opening chapter, from which we must dissent, but they are in no way such as affect the general bearing and value of the work: perhaps we are bound to add that they are the current coin of the religious world. As a history of the Jewish nation, and as far as it has gone, we cannot withhold our strong commendation. It is a clear, compact, spirited and withal conscientious production, well deserving a place on the shelf of the Christian student, and a large circulation among those who take pleasure in the stones of Zion and favor the dust thereof.

People and Land of Israel: 2. Jerusalem

A Letter from Jerusalem of a recent date, in the Augsbury Gazette, says:
“In digging out the foundation of a house which is being built in tine city for the Austrian Catholic Clergy, the workmen discovered at a depth of about fifteen feet from the surface several subterranean rooms, the walls of which are of hewn stone, and the floor of mosaic. The most important part of the discovery is, however, a grotto cut out in the rock, and supported by five columns. There are certain indications which lead to the belief that this grotto had served as a church for the early Christians; but the grotto, it is supposed, was formed before the advent of Christianity. Several capitals of Corinthian columns and fragments of antique marbles have also been found. The Austrian, French, and Prussian consuls, accompanied by the architect Eddlicher, who is superintending the building have visited these subterranean galleries, and have had photographic drawings made. The Musselman authorities throw no obstacles in the way of those archeological researches.”
The Abbe J. H. Michon has just published a pamphlet entitled, “La Papaute it Jerusalem.” He thinks that, the influence of modern ideas having produced no effect on the administration of affairs at Rome, the progressive element of the nation has become a formidable enemy to the stationary element of the Pontifical Government; that the old machine may, it is true, go on, well or ill, so long as it is aided by foreign diplomacy or foreign occupation; but that, the moment these are withdrawn, the Papacy will be helplessly exposed to revolution, and that the danger is imminent. The solution of this question is not to be found, he thinks, in political, administrative, or civil reform, nor in the secularization of clerical power. It is to be found only in the abdication of temporal power. He is of opinion that, in such a case, the capital of the spiritual Papacy could not be Rome. This power would lose in dignity, and would still suffer from political complications. He believes that there is but one city in the world which presents conditions indispensable to its independence and grandeur, and where a new era would arise for the mission of a true apostle; and that city is Jerusalem!

People and Land of Israel: 3. Recent Travels in the Holy Land and Neighboring Countries, Part 1

It appears from the Jewish Chronicle that the project for a railway from Jaffa to Jerusalem has been abandoned for the present. It is not that any insuperable difficulties stood in its way, for the line has been surveyed by a civil engineer of celebrity, who pronounces decidedly in favor of its feasibility. But the financial results anticipated are not such as to encourage the enterprise, unless grants of land were made by the Ports, such as are usually given by government in imperfectly cultivated countries Aali Pacha did not see fit to hold out this inducement; but those interested in it are looking for greater vigor and decision from Redschid Pacha.
On the other hand, the Sultan, who had already presented to the Emperor Napoleon the Church of the Nativity at Jerusalem, has also given him the old palace of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, which is annexed to St. Peter's prison.
Thus, with whatever slight delays and temporary checks, the prophetic student will descry the growing tendency and desire of the West to facilitate the political restoration of the Jews to their own land. Alas, an untimely birth! which will issue in the deepest sorrows, and in divine judgments upon all concerned. “For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut of the sprigs with prunning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches.” Nor will it be merely the disappointment of Israelitish hopes; for their Gentile patrons will prove their scourge, and will turn again and rend them. “They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth; and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them.” But that very time shall see the Lord undertake the work, and gather in His people with a high hand. “For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.” “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people in the earth be gathered together against it.” Their worst tribulation immediately precedes their final deliverance, and the putting down of the Gentiles, who will afterward owe their best blessing, as far as means are concerned, to Israel. “And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them towards the former sea, and half of them towards the hinder sea, (i.e. east and west:) in summer and in winter shall it be (i.e. always, as depending on God, not upon the mere natural seasons.) And the LORD shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”

People and Land of Israel: 3. Recent Travels in the Holy Land and Neighboring Countries, Part 2

1. Later Biblical Researches in Palestine and the adjacent Regions: a Journal of Travels in the year 1852. By Edward Robinson, Eli Smith, and others. Drawn up from the original Diaries, with Historical Illustrations, by Edward Robinson, D.D., LL.D., &c. With Naps and Plans. (London: John Murray, Albemarle Street. 185G.)
2. The Desert of Sinai: Notes of a Spring Journey from Cairo to Beersheba. By Horatius Bonar, D.D., Kelso. (London: James Nisbet & Co., Berners Street. 1857.)
In the preface, Dr. Robinson states that with this volume closes the record of his personal observations in the Holy Land. “To these my BIBLICAL RESEARCHES in the Holy Land, the fruit of thirty years of preparation, and of personal travels in 1838 and 1852, I can hope to add nothing more.” The present work is intended as a supplement to his former one, and prepared of course on the same principles. “The great object of all these travels and labors has been, as formerly announced, to collect materials for the preparation of a systematic work on the physical and historical geography of the Holy Land To this work, so much needed, should my life and health be spared, I hope speedily to address myself.” (p. 6)
The book before us consists of thirteen sections, with a few notes and indexes, the last of which, Passages of Scripture Illustrated, is meager and incomplete. Judged by that list, one might well wonder why the volume was entitled “Researches,” for Matthew and Revelation are the only books of the New Testament referred to, and these in the most cursory way. As to the Revelation, the solitary allusion is divided with Neh. 13:5: and Job 24:14, as well as with one of the two references to Matthew. Even as regards the Old Testament, the prospect looked extremely unpromising. We are glad to say, however, that this is the fault of him who drew up the third index; for the body of the work and the foot notes really discuss a considerable number of points interesting to the reader of scripture, as will appear presently.
The maps which are at the end, drawn up by Kiepert, of Berlin, principally from materials furnished by Dr. R., the late Dr. E. Smith, and other American travelers, appear to be extremely full and accurate.
From the cold, minute, business-like “Researches” of the American traveler, we turn to Dr. Bonar's Notes of his journey to the borders of Canaan. We were disappointed to find that it is spun out. It is to be followed by “Notes of a Journey through the Land of Promise.” The matter would not have been too much for one volume, particularly as we might have been spared, without loss, many allusions to things and places at home, and oft-recurring descriptions of the sky and the stars abroad, not to mention dubious scraps of erudition and caustic allusions to the peccadilloes of Keble's oriental descriptions. Notwithstanding, it is a relief to meet with a modern book of travels, written by a man who honestly believes in the Word of God. We may meet with almost wearisome illustration of the points of parallel between Old Testament allusions and the manners of the East to this day, most of them trite and some far-fetched indeed. Still there is no comparison between the general, moral, and godly tone of this latest contribution, and that which prevailed in the more ambitious works of Lepsius, Robinson, and others.

People and Land of Israel: 4. Travels in Sinai and Palestine

Sinai and Palestine, in Connection with their History. By Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, M.A., Canon of Canterbury, with Maps and Plans. Third Edition. London: John Murray, Albemarle Street. 1856.
Our object in the present paper is to cite some passages in the most able and interesting of recent works on the Holy Land, and at the same time to afford evidence whether or not it ought to have the confidence of the Christian and the Christian household.
Mr. Stanley's preface is devoted to his view of the connection of sacred history with the geography of the promised land. He attempts to trace its influence on national character, on forms of expression, the explanation it offers of particular events, and the evidence afforded of historical truth, with its illustrative, poetical, or proverbial uses. Most of our readers will feel that it is an attempt to invest what at best is but Gibeonite labor, “hewing wood and drawing water,” with a grandeur to which it is in no way entitled. Still as such servitude had its place towards Israel and the sanctuary, the believer may reap good if he know how to turn to account these efforts, earthly as they are.
The introduction treats of Egypt in relation to Israel Part I., on the peninsula of Sinai, is a fair sample of Mr. S.'s graphic and comprehensive pen. This peninsula is, in certain respects, one of the most remarkable districts on the face of the earth.” It combines the three grand features of earthly scenery—the sea, the desert, and the mountains. It occupies also a position central to three countries, distinguished not merely for their history, but for their geography, amongst all other nations of the world, Egypt, Arabia, Palestine. And lastly, it has been the scene of a history as unique as its situation; by which the fate of the three nations which surround it, and through them the fate of the whole world, has been determined. It was a just remark of Chevalier Bunsen, that 'Egypt has, properly speaking, no history. History was born on that night when Moses led forth his people from Goshen.' Most fully is this felt as the traveler emerges from the valley of the Nile, the study of the Egyptian monuments, and finds himself on the broad tract of the desert. In these monuments, magnificent and instructive as they are, he sees great kings and mighty deeds—the father, the son, and the children—the sacrifices, the conquests, the coronations. But there is no before and after, no unrolling of a great drama, no beginning, middle, and end of a moral progress, or even of a mournful decline. In the desert, on the contrary, the moment the green fields of Egypt recede from our view, still more when we reach the Red sea, the farther we advance into the desert and the mountains, we feel that everything henceforward is continuous, that there is a sustained and protracted interest, increasing more and more, till it reaches its highest point in Palestine, in Jerusalem, on Calvary, and on Olivet. And in the desert of Sinai by the fact that there it stands alone. Over all the other great scenes of human history—Palestine itself, Egypt, and Italy—successive tides of great recollections have rolled, each, to a certain extent, obliterating the traces of the former. But in the peninsula of Sinai there is nothing to interfere with the effect of that single event. The Exodus is the one stream of history that has passed through this wonderful region—a stream which has for its background the whole magnificence of Egypt, and for its distant horizon the forms, as yet unborn, of Judaism, of Mahometanism, of Christianity.” (pp. 3, 4). This extract exemplifies our author, and not least his unhappy practice of blending things divine and human, heavenly and earthly, which may fascinate the natural mind, but is abhorrent to the spiritual man.
Take another specimen. “It is between those two gulfs, the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Abaka, that the peninsula of Sinai lies. From them it derives its contact with the sea and therefore with the world, which is one striking distinction between it and the rest of the vast desert of which it forms a part. From hardly any point of the Sinaitic range is the view of the sea wholly excluded; from the highest points both of its branches are visible; its waters blue with a depth of color more like that of some of the Swiss lakes than of our northern or midland seas, its tides imparting a life to the dead landscape, familiar to modern travelers from the shores of the Atlantic or German ocean, but strange and inexplicable to the inhabitants of the ancient world, whose only knowledge of the sea was the vast tideless lake which washed the coasts of Egypt, Palestine, Greece, and Italy. It must have always brought to the mind of those who stood on its shores that they were on the waters of a new and almost unknown world. Those tides come rolling in from the great Indian Ocean; and with Indian Ocean these two gulfs are the chief channels of communication from the northern world. The white shells which strew their shores, the forests of submarine vegetation, which gave the whole sea its Hebrew appellation of the Sea of weeds, the trees of coral, whose huge trunks may be seen even on the dry shore, with the red rocks and red sand, which especially in the gulf of Akaba bound its sides, all bring before us the mightier mass of the Red or Erythrean Ocean, the coral strands of the Indian Archipelago, of which these two gulfs, with their peculiar products, are the northern off-shoots. The peninsula itself has been the scene of but one cycle of human events. But it has, through its two watery boundaries, been encircled with two tides of history which must not be forgotten in the associations which give it a foremost place in the geography and history of the world; two tides never flowing together, one falling as the other rose, but imparting to each of the two barren valleys through which they flow a life and activity hardly less than that which has so long animated the valley of the Nile. The two great lines of Indian traffic have alternately passed up the eastern and the western gulf, and though unconnected with the greater events of the peninsula of Sinai, the commerce of Alexandria, and the communications of England with India, which now pass down the Gulf of Suez, are not without interest, as giving a lively impression of the ancient importance of the twin gulf of Abaka. That gulf, now wholly deserted, was in the times of the Jewish monarchy the great thoroughfare of the fleets of Solomon and Jehoshaphat, and the only point in the second period of their history which brought the Israelites into connection with the scenes of the earliest wanderings of their nation. Such are the western and eastern boundaries of this mountain tract; striking to the eye of the geographer, as the two parallels to that narrow Egyptian land from which the Israelites came forth: important to the historian, as the two links of Europe and Asia with the great ocean of the south, as the two points of contact between the Jewish people and the civilization of the ancient world. From the summit of Mount St. Catherine, or of Um-Shomer, a wandering Israelite might have seen the beginning and the end of his nation's greatness. On the one side lay the sea through which they had escaped from the bondage of slavery and idolatry—still a mere tribe of the shepherds of the desert. On the other side lay the sea, up which were afterward conveyed the treasures of the Indies, to adorn the palace and the temple of the capital of a mighty empire.”
Here the reader may observe the good and bad points of Mr. S. In all that is external, and that touches on human affairs, there is much which is valuable and masterly; but when he approaches the ways of God, as revealed in Scripture, there is a melancholy falling off. No Israelite has yet seen “the end of his nation's greatness,” nor can see it, we may add. Indeed, that nation's sun has never yet reached its meridian, and, once risen, shall never set. “Thy sun shall no more go down.” The reign of Solomon was but the partial and transient prefiguration of this destiny when a greater than Solomon, the true Son of David, whom. himself typified, “shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”
Very unsatisfactory too is his mode of dealing with the passage of the Red Sea. The magnificence of the crisis, and its long train of associations are frankly admitted. But there is a careful insinuation of all that might reduce the fact to the level of the extraordinary but natural.
With very different feelings would we refer to chapter 2 pp. 112-117, which exemplifies Mr. S.'s happiest manner in linking together the external features with the history and calling of the people.
The rest of the chapter traces the peculiarities of Palestine as a land of ruins, its present condition as compared with the past, its climate and volcanic phenomena, its physical configuration, scenery, and geological features, as illustrations of scripture phrases.
Chapter III. is devoted to Judea and Jerusalem, as is chapter IV. to the heights and passes of Benjamin; chapter V. to Ephraim and Manasseh; chapter VI. to the maritime plain; chapter VII. to the Jordan and the Dead Sea; chapter VIII. to Perna and the transjordanic tribes; chapter IX. to the plain of Esdraelon; chapter X. to Galilee; chapter XI. to the Lake of Merom and the source of the Jordan; chapter XII. to Lebanon and Damascus; chapter XIII. to the gospel history and teaching, viewed in connection with the localities of Palestine; and chapter XIV. to the Holy places, with an appendix of Hebrew and topographical words, arranged under different heads. It is curious that the finest sketches of the Canon of Canterbury are the battle scenes of ancient and mediaeval times, with which his accounts of cities and rivers, hill and dale, are plentifully bestrewed. His most frequent and perilous fault is habitual exaggeration of secondary causes, the suppression or veiling of the divine actings in the scripture history of the chosen people. We have only to add that the illustrative maps, which convey the coloring and nature of the ground, rocks, &c., of the Desert and Palestine, are interesting and valuable. With our author's corrections of the Authorized Version (save of appellatives) we do not agree. Fuller knowledge, we are persuaded, would dispose of not a few which are apparently the offspring of foreign criticism, and this is a most suspicious source, except for verbal minutiæ.

People and Land of Israel: 5. Morality of the Jews

The Jewish Chronicle of this month (May) affords melancholy evidence of the dissolving process going on among the Jews, as elsewhere. Far be the thought from us that the Christian Church is aught but a wreck! It is not, therefore to excuse our own sin and shame that we extract sentiments sanctioned by the highest Jewish authorities in this country—sentiments which the humblest person could eschew, who abides a Jew. “We will not dispute the desirability of maintaining the legislature Christian. To maintain it Christian means to maintain it Jewish. Christian morality is Jewish morality, and Jewish morality is Christian morality. The morality of Jesus is the reflex of that of Moses.” Nor is it limited to moral questions. The writer is showing why Jews do not seek, as he says, to make proselytes. “The Jews believe that the salvation of Gentile depends upon the practice of the morality taught in the law and the prophets, and that the observance of the ceremonial part, although binding upon Jews, has no reference whatever to those from without the pale of Judaism.” Alas! is not this shutting God out of the matter? Is faith in Jesus a mere “ceremonial” thing? Is it not fatal to refuse Him if He is the true Messiah and Son of God? Is it not idolatry of the worst dye to worship Him if He be not! What did Moses say should be the portion of a false prophet and his adherents? (Deut. 13) What did Moses say should become of those who hearken not to the words of the true Prophet, “like unto him” (Deut. 18) The claims, the testimony of Jesus cannot be said, by a “conscientious Jew,” to be innocuous if untrue. It is a poor morality which begins with ignoring the sin of blasphemy and imposture in the holy things of God. And if the confession of Jesus is not falsehood but the truth, where are the Jews, and what their morality? “Father, forgive them.” “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”

People and Land of Israel: 6. Place of Wailing Jerusalem

But as the sun was going westward, and the sabbath day rapidly approaching, we hastened toward the place of wailing. I found my own way, up one street, down another, through narrow alley after alley, and at last emerged suddenly in a small paved court or place, seventy or a hundred feet long by twenty broad, the east side of which was the high wall of massive stones on the west side of the mosque enclosure, which is without doubt the same wall that stood here, enclosing the temple in the days of its great glory. In this place the Jews are accustomed to assemble, and with low murmurs of prayer, to bewail the desolation of the holy places. Moslem rule forbids their nearer approach to their once holy hill.
The impression made on my mind by the scene here witnessed will never be effaced. Men, women, and children of all ages, from young infants to patriarchs of fourscore and ten, crowded the pavement and pressed their throbbing foreheads against the beloved stones. There was no formality of grief here. We waited till the crowd had thinned away and only a dozen remained. These were men of stately mien and imposing countenances: their long beards flowed down on their breasts, and tears, not a few, ran down their cheeks and fell on the pavement. There was one man of noble features that we especially noticed; whose countenance for more than half-an-hour seemed unmoved by any sensation of earth, save only that of grief too deep for expression. I approached close to him, but he did not look up at me. He sat on the pavement, his back to a wall of a house or garden, and his face to the wall that once enclosed the shrine of his ancestors. I looked over his shoulder, and saw that he was reading the mournful words of Isaiah; nor did I then wonder that he wept for the mockery that now occupied the place of the solemn services of the daily sacrifice, and the senseless Moslem traditions, which in vain essayed to cloud the glorious history of the mountain of the Lord.
Evening came down, and with the sunset the sabbath commenced. Still some old men lingered, and still we lingered too, for the scene was not to be witnessed elsewhere on all the earth. The children of Abraham approaching as nearly as they dared to the holy of holies, and murmuring in low voices of hushed grief and sobs of anguish their prayers to the great God of Jacob, some kissed the rocky wall with fervent lips-some knelt and pressed their foreheads to it-and some prayed in silent speechless grief, while tears fell like rain-drops before them.
I was deeply moved, as one might well be in the presence of this sad assembly-the last representatives, near the site of their ancient temple, of those who once thronged its glorious courts and offered sacrifices to the God who had so long withdrawn His countenance from the race. A more abject race of men can hardly be conceived than are the downtrodden children of Israel in the city of their fathers, except when they assemble here where the majesty of their -grief demands respect from every human heart. - Tent Life in the Holy Land

Job 33

This is a very complete and wondrous chapter. It is Elihu's first word to Job, speaking to him as for God, of God, from God.
Ver. 1-5. His confidence and conscious authority, as from God; “not as the Scribes,” or as Job's friends.
6-7. His gentleness and sympathy. (See Peter, in Acts 10, John in Rev. 19-21, and Gal. 6:1). Jesus' sympathy offered from these.
8-13. After a pause—after this preface, he begins his address, rebuking and exposing Job. This is as the Gospel deals with us. (See John 4)
14. He states man's natural stupidness and insensibility touching God.
15-22. He shows God using the plow—of a dream, of a striking providence, of bodily pain or sickness—in order to break up such fallow ground. And such is the work to this day. (See Acts.)
23.-24. The sower comes after the plowman. (See Acts.) The seed is the Gospel. Ransom is provided of God, deliverance is brought to the sinner.
25-26. The condition of the believer.
27-28. A more rapid action on the sinner by the Spirit; an interpreter not used, as in Matt. 9:9. This is so still, as well as the cases in ver. 15-22.
29-30. Elihu tells Job these are samples of God's way in saving souls.
31-33. He asks Job at the last as at the first, had he anything to say.

On the Book of Job

Job pretends to no ostensible date. The ways of God are simply and directly in question.
The reader of the Book of Job is let in at once into what was really going on, that he may know God's purpose and ways. Job is not. It would have destroyed the effect of the gracious, though painful, process. God takes notice of His saints. “Hast thou considered my servant Job?” Satan's attention thus attracted to them, in a way which shows that God, whatever Satan's malice, is the real source of all that is to follow; he becomes the accuser. Thus the great scene of which man (and, we must add, the saint) was the object, really opens.
God, whose purpose is only disclosed at the end, in the profit done to Job's soul (though His being the source of all is revealed), leaves Job, in a measured way, in the hand of the adversary for temptation and trial. Such is the scene and spring of action from within. But all comes on Job from without by apparently ordinary causes. The predatory hordes of Sabeans, Chaldeans, and the like, make razzias on his flocks and herds; a violent wind from the desert throws down his house when his children are feasting; and at last a disease of the country attacks his own body—rapidly accumulated, no doubt; but all ordinary events, however trying. What was Job's own character? He was, in his general character, a godly, upright, gracious man, fearing God, eschewing evil, and gracious with those around him. Why should evils, if there be a divine government, fall on such an one? If this world be simply the present manifestation of divine government as such, then, indeed, it would be incredible. But though Providence overrules all, and God delights to bless, even temporarily; and though, in result, when He takes to Him His great power and rules, the blessing of the righteous will fully arrive; yet now, in a world of sin, He is carrying on another purpose—the perfecting of saints for the full enjoyment of Himself. This, since sin and will are come in, is wrought in two ways—judgment of self and submission to God.
Now Job needed, and God saw that he needed, this. He was gracious and pious, but He did not know Himself; and he had never so seen God as to be brought to a real knowledge of Himself in His presence. God deals, therefore, with him in a way to bring his sinfulness fully out, and then places him with it manifested to himself in His own presence. Elihu's place we shall see in a moment. He gives the key to God's ways in grace, in order to the bringing in of the soul dealt with into God's presence, as under discipline, not under judgment. Job had acted well, for grace had acted in him; but he did not know himself before God. Thus he speaks: “When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me; because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor; and the cause that I knew not I searched out.” All very right and gracious; but was it all that was in Job's heart? What did the thinking of it do? What did it show? Men waited for Job, no doubt. But where was Job's heart? What was it? Well, God allows Satan, in his malice, to sweep all away; and here more good is displayed. He is patient in his sorrow. He blesses God, and bows his head to Him who gave and saw fit to take away.
But Job's heart was not yet reached. Its reflections on itself there was nothing to change. Men would have said, “What more can you want than grace in prosperity, and patience in adversity?” I want such a knowledge of myself as makes God everything to me, and me morally capable of enjoying Him. Had God stopped here, though outwardly preparation had been made, Job would have been better pleased with himself than ever. Had God restored him now, mischief would have been done. Satan had done all he could. His friends arrive; and sympathy or shame (for God will have His blessed work fully done) reveals Job to himself; and he who has become the type of patience, curses the day in which he was born. The surface is broken through, and Job, and his friends too, come out in their reality. His friends take the ground of the present certain government of God manifest in all His ways; in which they are wholly and in every sense wrong. Did He directly govern, He could allow no sin at all. He who could suppose this present evil world the expression of the just and adequate results of God's character in government, must have an awful idea of God Himself. They had a pre-existing standard of morals, and judged God and all things by it. God loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; Job was under his afflicting hand: consequently, he was a hypocrite. They pronounce, indeed, many “wise saws,” common-place truisms, which explained nothing, and reached no man's conscience, not even their own—and hold their tongues, vexed that their wisdom was despised.
In Job two things are brought out—an unbroken, impatient will, which set up to judge God and say that he was more righteous than He; but, at the same time, a heart which had a sense of relationship with God, though in rebellion against Him, and writhing under His hand—a perception of qualities in God, which showed a personal knowledge of Himself, which only longed to find Him, and knew that, when he did, he should find Him such. He could not indeed. He was in one way, and who could turn Him aside? But if he did, he would order his cause before Him. There was that confidence in Him, that he counted upon His heart towards him. When he can get rid of the stupid importunities of his moralizing and heartless friends, he turns to cry after God with an “O that I might find Him!” In justice, he sees it is no use. How can a man plead with God? But in heart, he will trust Him if He slay him. Nothing can be more beautiful than the way he turns thus, casting aside his friends as he may, to throw himself into the arms of God, if he could only find Him. But all was not ready yet; the confidence would be sustained, but the will must be broken self-complacency destroyed. In this process all manner of feelings come out—impatient anger presumptuously arraigning God; acknowledging present government in pious justification of His ways, clearly proving that it was no present adequate proof of what God thought of a man; a deep, personal, heart-sense of what God is, expressed in confidence in Him. The heart was fully exercised, its evil brought out, its good, its faith in God brought into play: but the riddle was not yet solved.
Elihu then comes in, “an interpreter, one among a thousand,” and brings in this truth—that God deals personally with man. A general, superintending government no doubt there is—a God that judgeth the earth; but there is another kind of government—that of souls. He turns man from his purpose. He hides pride from man. He hideth not his eyes from the righteous. They are with kings; but he binds them in affliction and cords of iron, to show them their works, their transgressions that they have exceeded. He chastens, restores. He governs with a view to blessing—governs souls in a moral relationship with Himself. He was not God to terrify Job; yet Job could not answer when God, acting in respect of an unjudged conscience and an unsubdued heart, was brought out.
Yet while judging the conscience, and showing the sin of the will and pride of heart, such reasoning showed God's active, condescending, pains-taking grace to a soul that had the integrity that was found in Job. Thus God's ways were revealed by the interpreter, and self-righteousness totally set aside. Still one thing remained where gracious ways had softened the heart of the willful one for submission. God's own majesty was to be revealed to show Job his utter folly, (worms and sinners that we are.) Hence God is displayed in majesty and power; and Job acknowledges his vileness, first by shutting his mouth before God—staying his presumptuous words; and then opening it in unfeigned confession before the gracious God who dealt with him, in whose presence he now stood in a truth and reality he had never been in before. “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee; therefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Then God can fully bless him, and pardon his friends, putting each in his place. These were, so to speak, the parties in question—self-righteousness referring to present government now; a saint, yet unsubdued and not knowing himself as a poor sinner before God; and the God of majesty with whom they all had to do. Elihu was but an interpreter by the way, and hence not seen when the judgment is to be pronounced. He answers to the intelligent spirit of Christ, acting by the word to teach God's ways as the Church ought to know them; and we “have heard of the patience of Job, and seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” Such, I apprehend, is the purport of this book—the most instructive revelation for every soul of God's ways with men.
I do not doubt its application to Jewish history, for in the Jews God will ultimately display His government of the earth, as He has already to those who have spiritual intelligence to discern it. But that is but a large picture of man's heart and God's ways that we may learn them. There are higher revelations in the New Testament, no doubt. But the sovereign grace has not superseded these principles of intercourse of God with godly men—with the redeemed, and with men in general, which are brought out, independently of all dispensations, in this wonderful and most beautiful book. It carefully shuts out thus all special dispensational character or Jewish legal form of knowledge, or God's taking a people specially to Himself, while picturing the dealings developed in them. I have no doubt, from the kind of idolatry referred to, the patriarchal manners, and other characteristics of the book, that it is of Mosaic date at least: but however this may be, of its spiritual place and purpose in the holy book of God I have not the least doubt. The idea is a godly man, standing with God in government in the earth, and his acceptance before Him The reader will remark that sacrifices are introduced as the means of escape from the consequences of our folly and sin in respect of God. The Book of Job is the testimony now (independently of all peculiar dispensational truth and blessing, and it was the testimony before there were any) of the great fundamental truths on which all relationship between God and man on earth rest.

Joy

The kingdom, divine power, God Himself, brought in, joy is the element Be it, in the eye opened by the Spirit, in the judgment or government of the world, in the heavenly citizenship, this is so—in the operations of the Father, the counsels of the Father, or His ways and methods, this is so. These verses show this.
Earlier dispensations tested man, now God is brought in (see ver. 24).
Joy is the element in which the kingdom displays and exercises itself.
Joy at the reception of the Gospel, with Jews, Samaritans, Proselytes, Gentiles. Acts 2; 8:13
Joy enjoined all through our course. Phil. 4
Joy provided for our eternity.
All share it—God, Christ, the sinner, the worshipper, angels, heaven, earth. Luke 1; 2:10, 15, 24.
Luke has much joy, because much of grace.

The Kingdom of Heaven

The frequent recurrence of this expression in Matthew's gospel (for it occurs nowhere else in the New Testament), and of a somewhat similar one in all the other gospels, and through the whole of the New Testament, cannot fail to strike the careful reader of the word of God, and produce an impression of the importance of having a right understanding, according to God, of what the kingdom of heaven really is.
It is worthy of note that Matthew only uses the phrase; and the more so, as almost every other book of the New Testament speaks of the kingdom: but these invariably associate it with a person, as “the Kingdom of God,” or “Kingdom of Christ.”
The only Epistles where no mention appears to be made of the kingdom, are, 2nd Cor., Philippians, 1st Timothy, Titus, Philemon, 1st Peter, the three Epistles of John, and that of Jude and of these, 1 Timothy speaks of the “King,” and 1 Peter speaks of a “royal Priesthood,” which evidently refers to the thought of the kingdom.
Setting aside for a moment the inquiry as to why Matthew alone, so persistently (though not invariably) changes the form of the expression in general use in the New Testament, the expression itself at once carries us back to the prophet Daniel, where we read of the “King of heaven.” —(chap. 4:37) —and of the rule of the heavens, (4:26).
When God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth, it was manifest that the earth was intended of God to be the scene of blessing, with reference to man; and, excepting the statement of an eternal truth by one who was instructed in divine counsels, (Melchisedec, a figure of Him who was to come after—Gen. 14:19) it is only with reference to this earth that God makes Himself known, and is known by those who walked before Him But trial after trial only proved the more deeply what came out at the very beginning in the Garden of Eden, that man on his part was incompetent to be the recipient of unhindered blessing flowing out from God.
Adam, Noah, Abram's seed all failed in their time and place; and when God's chosen people Israel—chosen out of the earth to be a witness to Him—not only failed in their place of witness, but set up false gods in place of the True, God appeals to the heavens and the earth to hear the tale of woe (Deut. 32:1, Isa. 1:1, &c.), and introduces another witness, who was to come down from heaven to the earth to remedy what had all become involved in evil.
Further, when all that was outwardly connected with God in this earth, had fallen into apparently hopeless ruin, when God's Israel were captives in a strange land, when, moreover, God in judgment had taken the scepter out of the land of Israel, and transferred it to a Gentile monarch; then it is that Daniel's prophecy comes in to tell of the kingdom of heaven—that however God might appear to have lost His kingdom in this earth, it was still a fact that the Most High was ruling in the “kingdom of men,” and that He was also “King of heaven,” and so acknowledged perforce by the head of the Gentile world.
And most needful was such a testimony at such a time; for surely appearances were all against it. It seemed as if Satan had indeed wrested from man the authority committed to him as the chief of God's creation; it seemed as if he had wrested from God the real glory of His kingdom—unhindered joy in His creatures, and His creatures' unhindered communion with Himself. But not so: the promise in Gen. 3 revealed a truth, to be more fully unfolded afterward that in a MAN was to be found a remedy for it all; in effect, that when the KING came—the King after God's own heart—the kingdom should be manifested in divine glory, and in greater glory, and more intimate communion between God and His creatures than ever Eden knew.
But many counsels were to be unfolded first. The principle was made known in Eden in terms suited to the necessity of that time—the Seed of the woman, the Son of Adam, was to destroy the destroyer—but not until the flood had rolled over Eden, in God's first judgment of man's wickedness upon this earth, did the principle begin to be further unfolded; and not until another flood had rolled over that very Seed of the woman, did the full meaning of that revelation become known in another garden.
Still, in that first word itself was wrapt up the whole secret of what was necessary to introduce the kingdom in manifested glory, where everything, as far as man and Satan were concerned, only tended to banish the expectation of it forever.
There was the eternal enmity, and the double bruising, and all connected with a Man (the woman's Seed), so that when that Man really did come to earth, the answering testimony to Him (which, indeed, embodies all this truth in yet briefer terms) is, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”
And inasmuch as the kingdom could not be manifested until that first bruising had taken place, which was the means of sin being duly taken away by Him who was the true Lamb, (for surely God's kingdom cannot be where sin is), so the Lord says in John that His kingdom is not of this world, and “except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God;” and Rom. 14:17 describes the kingdom of God as “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” But nevertheless it is associated with the King, as of necessity it must be, for what were a kingdom without a King, or a King without a kingdom? Hence, when the King comes, even though in humiliation, the kingdom of God is preached (an expression peculiar to Luke), and every man presseth into it, after the way has been prepared by John the Baptist (Luke 16:16).
And therefore Matthew, Mark, and Luke speak of the mystery, or mysteries of the kingdom, and state that it is come nigh—wrapt up, as it were, in the person of the Son—the wisdom of God in a mystery, revealed now by the Spirit of God to the “stewards of the mysteries of God,” who know the kingdom to be “not in word, but in power.” 1 Cor. 4:20
Therefore it is said in Matt. 21:43, that the kingdom of God shall be taken from the Jews and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits of it. It is so bound up with the person of the Christ, the true King, that it goes with His rejection, and comes with His reception.
And so the Lord declares in Luke 4:43, “I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also, for therefore am I sent.” Matthew also distinctly declares His mission to be that of “preaching the gospel of the kingdom,” (4:23, 9:35). We see then that “the kingdom” is that which is associated with Christ, or bears His name in the earth.
It is called “the kingdom of heaven” in Matthew, that being the dispensational gospel—setting forth the One who was the Heir of the promises, in connection with that people who were to be the center of blessing on the earth, but whose departure from God and rejection of Christ do not, nevertheless, interfere with God's rule over this earth, as Daniel showed, nor with His final purposes towards it in Christ, however much the rejection of Him may have delayed their accomplishments. When earth has failed, the resource is from above in Him who introduces the “kingdom of heaven” [now in mystery and patience, by and by in manifestation and power].
L.

The Languages of the Bible

We propose to devote a portion of our pages to the consideration of such subjects as may help our readers in the study of the sacred volume. Very often it is found that there are expressions in the Scriptures hard to be understood, simply because we may be in ignorance of some customs and peculiarities alluded to. And the books, in which these difficulties are explained, are too long and too expensive for the great mass of readers of the Bible. Or, it may be, that a man's other vocations leave him but little time to learn the languages in which the scriptures were written. And, while we may be satisfied that no part of God's will is really hard for those who are only seeking the burden of the messages which declares the will, yet we have no right willfully to neglect any part of that message. We may save well-meaning Christians from those sad displays of zealous ignorance, which occasionally bring scandal upon Christianity itself, if we give them an intelligible account of many things connected with the Bible—such as the different languages in which the Bible has been written; the distinction between the canonical and apocryphal books; the most famous translations that have been made: the manners and customs, the history and the geography referred to; and the way in which our English Bible has reached us.
These and similar topics we shall treat in a succession of papers. We begin with “The Languages of the Bible.”
It may be necessary to premise that learned men divide the whole number of languages that are, or ever have been, spoken, into several chief families, Of these by far the most important are—first, the Indo-Germanic family, including Sanscrit, Greek, Latin, and German, with nearly all European tongues; and secondly, the Shemitic, including Arabic, Hebrew, and Aramaic or Syriac.
Of this latter family, the Arabic has been the most cultivated; and, being the language in which the Koran is written, is known to Mussulmen all over the world.
The Hebrew, called the sacred tongue, because in it nearly all the Old Testament is written, seems to have been spoken in a comparatively small district; perhaps only in Palestine, Phenicia, and the immediate neighborhood. It is called Hebrew, because it was the language of the people of that name; and they appear to have been so designated, from Heber; who being the last patriarch, before the dispersion from Babel, must have possessed an authority (as speaking to an undivided people) which no succeeding patriarch could have had.
The term Hebrew language does not, however, occur in the Old Testament. There it is called the language of the Jews, as at 2 Kings 18:2G, or the lip of Canaan, as at Isa. 19:8.
Most probably this was the language of Canaan, before Abraham came into it. For we observe that his relatives on the other side of the Euphrates spoke another tongue (Gen. 31:47), and in the narrative of the intercourse between the Hebrews and the people of the land, there is no allusion to any difference of speech. Then, again, the names of places in Canaan, from the very earliest times, have all a meaning in Hebrew but not in any other language; and in the few existing records of the dialect of the idolatrous part of the land, as in the Phoenician, on coins discovered at Tire, and Malta; and in the daughter of the Phoenician, namely the Punic or Carthaginian, preserved in a Latin comedy of Plautus (Poenulus 5:1, 2), we find a form of speech identical with the Hebrew. The lastly, indigenous to a country place like Palestine, the same word is used to denote both Sea and West.
In this language, the whole of the Old Testament is written, with the exception of part of the Books of Ezra and Daniel. And it is remarked how little change the language underwent during the thousand years over which the composition of the book extended. This is due to the natural inflexibility of the language itself; the isolation of the people from the rest of the world; the influence of the Pentateuch in fixing it; and the general belief in its sacredness. For these reasons, the language of Moses is substantially the same as that of Malachi, in spite of some antique phrases in the former, and the gradually increasing admixture of Syrian with all the writers that succeeded Isaiah.
The Hebrew died out, as a spoken language at, or soon after, the Babylonish captivity, and was replaced by the Syrian or Aramaic, which was the language of their conquerors, the Assyrians and Babylonians. This was the language in which Eliakim begged Rab-shakeh to speak to the people in Jerusalem, because they did not understand it, as the chiefs themselves did. It seems clear therefore that the language of Syria began to penetrate Israel after this time; and, when the Jews remained for two generations in Babylon, they must have lost, nearly, if not entirely, all recollection of their former speech. Ezra seems to have interpreted the words of the Law to them on their return. (Neh. 8:8.) While yet from the fact of Zechariah, Haggai, and Malachi, continuing to write in Hebrew, we may conclude it had not quite disappeared; as we know it had a little later at the time of Alexander's conquests.
The language that took its place was much more widely spread: it is called Syrian in the English translation of the Bible, as at 2 Kings 18:26. Dan. 2:4. But it is usual now to call it Aramaic, since Aram is the real biblical word for Syria, and seems to have designated the country North and East of the Euphrates, from which Abraham had originally emigrated, and where afterward arose that fierce and conquering race which founded Nineveh and Babylon. It used to be called Chaldee, but erroneously; as the only place, where the tongue of the Chaldeans is mentioned, is at Dan. 1:4.: and there it manifestly means a language peculiar to a priestly caste at Babylon, not to the whole people.
At the time of our Lord, this was the native language of Palestine; and occurs in our Testaments, in the words, Ephphatha, Talitha Cumi, Eli Eli lama Sabacthani, &c. This was also the language of the inscription on the cross, and of St. Paul's speech as recorded at Acts 22. Although in both these instances the Hebrew is mentioned, there is no doubt that it is the modern, not the ancient, language that is meant.
In it are also written those parts of the Old Testament, which are not in Hebrew: viz., Dan. 2:4, to 7:28; and Ezra 4:8, to 6:18; and 7:12-26. Also the ancient Chaldee paraphrases on the Bible, and the Talmud. And to the present day it is the sacred language of the Nestorians and Syrian Christians; even of those on the Malabar coast of India.
The only other language that remains to be noticed, is the Greek, in which, the whole of the New Testament is written: a peculiar dialect of which prevailed in Western Asia and Egypt, in consequence of the conquests of Alexander the Great. Its chief locality was Alexandria, where the first Ptolemies had transplanted most of the arts and sciences which used to flourish before in Athens. This dialect is therefore called Alexandrian Greek, and is distinguished from the language of the classics, by having engrafted on it many Hebrew and other Oriental modes of expression; no doubt partly in consequence of the great numbers of Jews, who, from an early period, dwelt in Alexandria.
Even in Palestine, although Hebrew retained its place as the sacred language, and Syrian or Aramaic was spoken in the country parts, there is every probability that Greek was the ordinary speech of intercourse; and that it stood in the same relation to the native Aramaic, that English does to Welsh in Wales at the present day.
In this Alexandrian Greek is written the whole of the New Testament; the ancient Septuagint translation of the Old; and the works of Josephus and Philo. As it was the common language of the Eastern part of the Roman Empire, it became necessarily the common language of all early Christians, who for some years were confined to that part of the world. And even when Christianity had reached Rome and the West, there is evidence that Greek (and not Latin, as might have been supposed) was, for a long time, the ecclesiastical tongue.
It is a matter of discussion whether our Lord and his Apostles spoke Greek or Aramaic; and it does not seem possible to pronounce a decided verdict on the question. It is likely enough that all the people of Palestine, except the most retired or the most ignorant, understood and used, both forms of speech. Hence the threefold inscription on the cross. In Aramaic and Greek for the people: just as public documents in Wales might be in Welsh and English and in Latin, because that was the official language of Pontius Pilate, and the government's servants.
From the fact of some few Aramaic words of our Lord being preserved, we might conclude that he did not always speak in that tongue; and it must have been observed that when Paul addresses the people from the castle stairs in Hebrew (i.e. in Aramaic), they were pleased by this mark of respect to their native tongue; and had expected that he would rather speak Greek, which they understood equally well. On the other hand, the question of the chief captain, “Canst thou speak Greek?” would seem to have originated the second question, “Art thou not that Egyptian?” as Greek was certainly the language of Egypt at that time; and therefore the chief captain supposed he was not an inhabitant of Palestine.
At any rate, there was certainly a distinction between Greek-speaking Jews and others. For we notice in the Acts of the Apostles (chap. 6 &c.,) that some are called Hebrews and some Grecians. There is a difference of opinion as to whether the distinction consisted in the speech they used; or in the version of the Bible that they read. For while the Jews of Palestine, and eastward of that country, constantly used the original Hebrew Scriptures, only rendered into Aramaic at the very moment they were read; the Jews of Alexandria, and generally in the countries west of the Holy Land, seem not to have known the Hebrew, even in the synagogues, and to have used only the Greek Septuagint translation.
As Greek was the tongue of their Syrian oppressors in the time of the Maccabees, the Rabbis looked upon it with aversion, as being especially a profane tongue, fit only for entirely worldly business, but never to be intruded into the synagogue. This feeling was aggravated by the fact that the Jews of Alexandria—where chiefly Greek-speaking Jews abounded—had not only a translation of the Scriptures, which they advanced almost to the same rank as the original: but even a temple of their own, which in some respects was permitted to rival the holy building in Jerusalem.
But, anyhow, Greek was the current language of the world at the time of the appearance of Christianity the language with which a man might travel from end to end of the Roman Empire. And there appears a special providence in the circumstance that the Gospel was sent forth at the very time when there was thus a universal language, in which to convey it. It was necessary to the free circulation of the message, that it should be written in the speech of the Empire, not in some local dialect. And the Grecians or Hellenists, though despised by the Palestine Jews, appear certainly, by means both of their more common tongue, and also of their greater enlightenment, to have been the part of Israel that most generally embraced the Gospel, and carried it into distant lands, away from its original cradle in Judea and Galilee. W. H. J.

Latter-Day Saints

We insert the following letter, which has been sent to us for this purpose, in the hope that the Satan-deluded author of the pamphlet referred to, and his approving readers may see it, peruse it, and take warning ere it be too late.
2, Little's Lane, Wolverhampton, 7 Oct., 1856.
To Mr. Charles F. Jones.
Sir—Having recently received from you a very singular pamphlet, called “Marriage and Morals in Utah,” I am constrained to say a few words upon it to you. This I do both as a Christian man, and as a servant of the Lord; not as being appointed to any office, or as giving forth the sentiments of any class of persons.
Observe, I do not write in the tone of offense, or as one offended, but with much pain and sorrow of heart that anything so defiling and injurious to the truth should have emanated from any class of persons calling themselves “saints” (holy persons), and should ever have been wickedly fathered upon the character of the ever blessed God, the object of all true adoration and worship.
In this pamphlet I am pained to observe that there is nothing said about what can give relief to a troubled conscience; about the calling of “saints” to heaven, and their walking worthy of that “calling;” and about the person and work of the Son of God: but only about the perpetuation of our species, and the desire to get possession of as wide a space of the earth as possible; as if our whole destiny and need were met in such carnal wretched pursuits as these. Is it not monstrous that anything so low and groveling can occupy “saints” (and that too in laying down principles for the government of a new state), and can be made the subject of their teaching? How suited to inflame the passions of the carnal heart, from the dominion of which Jesus came to deliver us.
And because a species of polygamy was permitted in early times, yet after its condemnation by our Lind Jesus Christ (after the folly and sin of man have made his own desire manifest) it is assumed in this pamphlet, that polygamy is still to continue; and to this abominable adultery is added. It is further intimated that this is what is meant by the “everlasting covenant,” although it is quite plain that that covenant had to do with the earth, and that even to this day it has not received its fall accomplishment. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made, He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ,” Gal. 3:16. “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son to redeem,” &c., 4:4-6. Is it, then, more wives, or redemption, that poor, fallen, and degraded man wants? And yet (alas for the blindness of such writers! it is taught in this pamphlet, that marriage, and the earth are what we are to be occupied about, and not redemption. And when God says to the “saints” at Corinth, 2 Cor. 5:17, “Old things are passed away, behold all thing, are become new"; i.e., of course, only to real Christians. Here are other self-called “saints,” according to your pamphlet teaching that it is the old creature we are to be occupied about. With you it is the old Adam, the earth, and more wives; with God it is the new creature, the Second Adam, the Lord from heaven, 1 Cor. 15:47. Does such a perversion of the truth come from heaven or hell?
Sir, it is shocking to father such sentiments as these upon a holy God, “who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and who cannot look upon sin"! And were I not instructed from Holy Scriptures to believe that such thing would come in these “last days,” I should indeed wonder that hell itself could ever invent things so truly wicked and defiling as those recommended in your pamphlet. Let me solemnly remind you of what is said of false prophets and teachers: “To the law, and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light (morning, see margin) in them,” Isa. 8:20. Such doctrine is not of the morning, but is of the night and “darkness,” John 3:20, 21. “If any man, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel than that which I have preached... let him be accursed,” Gal. 1:8.
Let “marriage and morals in Utah” be what they may, it will soon be seen that “many will come and say, Lord! Lord! open to us... but then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me,” &c. Matt. 7:15-23. And further on in time, “the heavens will pass away, and the elements melt with fervent heat,” &c.-2 Peter 3:10. We want something that will secure us then and now! What have marriage and morals to do with meeting the need of the human conscience, furnishing an adequate object for newborn affections, and lifting a poor soul into the presence of God, and giving him the assurance that God loves him in Jesus?
I could say much more, but forbear, praying that a holy and merciful God may rebuke the daring impiety of the Mormons, and in His great mercy rescue them from their delusion. “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them who are lost.” —2 Cor. 4:3, 4. With proper estimation suited to the case, I am, Sir, yours truly, RICHARD TUNLEY,

Life and Righteousness

“IF you whitewash your cabin, it gets dirty again, and you must give it another coating. And lo I it gets dirty again. So it is with confession and absolution (so far as that goes). Trespasses and sins return, and you go again; and so it goes on like the whitewashing.
Now ask any one that is anxious to please God, and whose sins are a real trouble to them, whether this is not so. Is it not, therefore, a poor remedy that never brings a surer cure?
“But if the walls of your cabin had a pure and living cleanness in them, would they not be freed continually from this growing dirt, and be purified continually.
“So it is with the heart that receives Christ into it by faith, and loves to have Him there, that looks to Him as the true and living righteousness given to us freely of God. Such a one shall find a living cleanness springing up in their heart, purifying them continually, and they rejoice in Him who bore all their sins.”
YOUR result in the tract paper (i.e., fourth paragraph) is all right, but the third seems to me to confound a little the water and the blood. We have both in Christ. Living cleanness is practical, but does not cleanse from guilt, though the two cannot be separated, because Christ is both, and cannot be the one without being the other. But one is not the other; and if an exercised and troubled conscience had to find the “living cleanness quite white” in order to know forgiveness (i.e., non-imputation), the soul of such an one might be perplexed and cast down, as is often the case. It is mixing internal and living righteousness with non-imputation.
Being quickened with Christ, I have part in the righteousness in which He is before God; but the working and effect of that life is not the measure of that righteousness before God, nor for peace of conscience. Conscience will be exercised where the Spirit is, as to the living righteousness; but it rests on Christ as its unchanging righteousness before God. We are righteous by faith objectively before God, not subjectively by experience, though there will be experience according to the working and judgment of the Holy Ghost in him who is righteous by faith. The Holy Ghost witnesses to one and works the other in us, or refuses inconsistencies contrary to it, But it carries on this moral discipline within in those that are at peace through the other: otherwise judgment of failure always puts us, and must put us, under law.
Whenever we believe on Christ, or on Him that raised Him up, righteousness is imputed to us. It is not a question of progress; it is always simply true of the believer as such. It is God's judgment on his behalf of the value of Christ's work, and His position as risen before Him. But grace reigning by righteousness is the principle on which the whole matter rests. It is the principle of Christianity.
Righteousness does not reign: it will in the day of judgment. Grace reigns yet. God cannot but maintain righteousness; but Christ has accomplished it in a divine way, and it is settled forever in heaven, and this not for any temporal blessing or particular promise, but for eternal life. Grace reigns. Sin has reigned through man unto death. Had righteousness thus reigned, it was everlasting ruin. Now God, who is love, has had His work, and grace reigns and righteousness has now been established—divine righteousness through Christ. Believing on “Him that raised Him” is not merely a confidence in power to be employed (as Abraham), but in power already employed in deliverance—already accomplished in the very place and matter of our bondage. It is a God of love who has come down in such sort in power to our estate to take us out of it in Christ. God acts in love and power; and the work of deliverance by it is accomplished.
But death for offenses and resurrection for justification is not a stage past; it is a work done outside us of eternal efficacy. No doubt of the grace that reigns through it; for now, righteousness being accomplished and established for us, love is no longer straitened, as it was till God's claim of death was satisfied and Christ baptized with that baptism. And grace reigns through righteousness, and all blessings, even to the fullness of glory, flow from and are dependent on this.
But Rom. 4 gives us the same basis: only here we have the source and principle which was at work and has triumphed so as to have all its own way in this time, and govern forever in them who are brought in by it. God and His work have taken the place of man and his, as the ground of our relationship with God. Hence, of course, all blessings flow.

The Lord Jesus in John 11-12

These chapters show us in what different channels the Lord's thoughts flowed from those of the heart of man. His ideas, so to speak, of misery and of happiness, were so different from what man's naturally are.
The eleventh chapter opens with a scene of human misery. The dear family at Bethany are visited with sickness, and the voice of health and thanksgiving in their dwelling has to yield to mourning, lamentation, and woe. But He, who of all had the largest and tenderest sympathies, is the calmest among them; for He carried with Him that foresight of resurrection, which made Him overlook the chamber of sickness, and the grave of death.
When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, He abode two days longer in the place where He was. But when that sickness ends in death, He begins His journey in the full and bright prospect of resurrection. And this makes His journey steady and undisturbed. And, as He approaches the scene of sorrow, His action is still the same. He replies again and again to the passion of Martha's soul, from that place where the knowledge of a power that was beyond that of death had, in all serenity, seated Him And though He have to move still onward, there is no haste. For on Mary's arrival, He is still in the same place where Martha had met Him. And the issue, as I need not say, comes in due season to vindicate this stillness of His heart, and this apparent tardiness of His journey.
Thus was it with Jesus here. The path of Jesus was His own. When man was bowed down in sorrow at the thought of death, He was lifted up in the sunshine of resurrection.
But the sense of resurrection, though it give this peculiar current to the thoughts of Jesus, left His heart still alive to the sorrows of others. For His was not indifference, but elevation. And such is the way of faith always. Jesus weeps with the weeping of Mary and her company. His whole soul was in the sunshine of those deathless regions, which lay far away from the tomb of Bethany; but it could visit the valley of tears, and weep there with those that wept.
But again. When man was lifted up in the expectation of something good and brilliant in the earth, His soul was full of the holy certainty that death awaits all here, however promising or pleasurable; and that honor and prosperity must be hoped for only in other and higher regions. The twelfth chapter shows us this.
When they heard of the raising of Lazarus, much people flocked together from Bethany to Jerusalem, and at once hailed Him as the King of Israel. They would fain go up with Him to the Feast of Tabernacles, and antedate the age of glory, seating Him in the honors and joys of the kingdom. The Greeks also take their place with Israel in such an hour. Through Philip, as taking hold of the skirt of a Jew, (Zech. 8) they would see Jesus and worship. But in the midst of all this Jesus Himself sits solitary. He knows that earth is not the place for all this festivation and keeping of holy day. His spirit muses on death, while their thoughts were full of a kingdom with its attendant honors and pleasures. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone.”
Such was the peculiar path of the spirit of Jesus. Resurrection was everything to him. it was His relief amid the sorrows of life, and His object amid the promises and prospects of the world. It gave His soul a calm sunshine, when dark and heavy clouds had gathered over Bethany; it moderated and separated His affections, when the brilliant glare of a festive day was lighting up the way from thence to Jerusalem. The thought of it sanctified His mind equally amid griefs and enjoyments around. Resurrection was everything to Him. It made Him a perfect pattern of that fine principle of the Spirit of God: “Let him that weepeth be as if he wept not, and he that rejoiceth as though he rejoiced not.”
O for a little more of the same mind in us, beloved! — a little more of this elevation above the passing conditions and circumstances of life!
May the faith and hope of the Gospel, through the working of the indwelling Spirit, form the happiness and prospects of our hearts!

The Lord Returning From the Wedding

IV. Luke 12:36. It is asked whether this verse coincides, or is to be connected, with the parable of the virgins in Matt. 25. It would rather seem to be a comparison to show the responsibility of the saints and the grace of the Lord; but it is not a history or prophecy thrown into parabolic form, as we have in Matt. 25, and therefore a comparison with the virgins would be apt to mislead.

Luke 19-21

The Lord sets himself to make it appear that Jerusalem was not ready for the kingdom. He tests her state in a way that gives her every advantage, entering in full royal dignity.
Jerusalem meets Him with a cold repulse; and the more He is frustrated, the more her unpreparedness for the kingdom is proved. Instead of displaying His glory there, He weeps, and pronounces her doom. Ch. 20 accumulates the evidence of this moral unpreparedness; and then ch. 21, exhibits the long season of judgment which must precede the kingdom.

Some Account of Manuscripts

No doubt the most ancient writing material was stone. This was the substance that most readily presented itself; when men were rather anxious to preserve indestructible records than to multiply copies. Probably the account of altars being built, and of a name being solemnly imposed upon them—as when Laban and Jacob parted in mount Gilead—may refer to the inscriptions then cut on the stone, which was to serve as a memorial. At any rate we have positive information that in the oldest known documents that were intended as books, viz., the commandments received by Moses from Jehovah, were engraved on stone.
No material could have been more durable. But it was at the same time, costly and cumbrous. There are inscriptions in Egypt of a very hoar antiquity indeed, reaching up perhaps to the very dawn of human postdiluvian history; but then they are on the tombs of kings, demanding a royal treasury for their execution, and a royal sepulcher for their place. Where stone was lacking, as in the plains of the Tigris and Euphrates, men were driven to adopt other expedients, and we find at Nineveh and Babylon, no longer inscriptions carved in rock, but impressions stamped in clay.
From a very early period—we cannot say when—leather must have come into use, as making books at least more portable than the stone or the clay. Nothing was more likely to suggest itself; and in all probability the rolls occasionally mentioned in the Bible were made of leather. Bark of trees is said to have served for books; and it is affirmed that the Latin word Liberwhence we derive many words in our own language -was originally this inner bark. Allied to this last was the better-known and more widely-used papyrus, furnished by a kind of reed that is almost peculiar to the Nile, and which certainly came into very early use. For, however fragile the papyrus books may appear, there are some in the British Museum, to which is assigned an age that reaches back to the time of the Exodus.
The export of papyrus seems to have formed a considerable item in the trade of Egypt. And the Ptolemrean dynasty boasted of being at once the patrons of literature, and the owners of the most convenient material for writing. Papyrus was probably cheap and readily obtained. But a new, a more expensive, and a far more valuable material had come to be known a few generations before the Christian era, destined to preserve some of the most precious documents of that era. Without parchment, it may be questioned whether the Scriptures would have come to us in the abundant quantity of copies that we possess. Probably on a less expensive sheet the same pains would not have been taken to make those copies accurate.
About the early half of the second century before Christ, when the Romans were engaged in contesting the empire of Eastern Europe with the kings of Macedonia, there arose out of the ruins of some of the larger fragments of Alexander's dominions, a small kingdom in the north-west of Asia Minor, that owed much of its fortune to the favor of the Romans, and perhaps for that reason incurred the suspicion and dislike of its neighbors. It was called the kingdom of Pergamos, from the city of that name, afterward immortalized as the seat of one of the seven churches which the apostle addressed in the beginning of his apocalypse. A town still stands on or near the ancient site, preserving in the name of Bergamo the recollection of Pergamos.
The kings who ruled there imitated the Ptolemies in patronizing learning, and founding a library. They excited, in consequence, the jealousy of the Egyptian sovereigns; one of whom, Ptolemy Epiphanes, about 190 B.C., in order to arrest the growth of a library that bade fair to rival that of Alexandria, prohibited the exportation of papyrus. Thereupon, the king of Pergamos, driven to his own resources, encouraged the invention of a new writing material. And a peculiar preparation of skins became known, called, from Pergamos, Charta Pergamene, or parchment.
This is the story, which has been sometimes doubted. But at any rate, it was in Pergamos that the parchment attained its greatest celebrity, and from that city it certainly took its name. Parchment, and its finer kind, vellum, have ever since retained the renown of uniting a convenient form and surface with a tolerably imperishable nature. Nothing but the cost, ever prevented this becoming the one material for books. The story of papyrus being no longer exported from Egypt may be true. But if so, the prohibition could only have been temporary; for papyrus was certainly used in Italy, and without doubt, elsewhere also. At a later epoch, as we know from the discoveries at Pompeii and Herculaneum, and indeed down to the Arabian occupation of Egypt in the seventh century, papyrus still seems to have been the ordinary substance for writing in most parts of Europe.
The seizure of Egypt, however, by the Mahommedans, is said to have stopped the use of papyrus thenceforward forever. It is not likely that it was known at any time afterward. Soon there came in the dark ages, when almost all records of the ancient civilization seemed about to perish; and only the monasteries still preserved some few valued treasures of literature. Parchment became now the only material for writing, and, little as it was required, it rose in price: so that it was considered a great possession. We are told of a certain Gui, Count of Nevers, presenting to the Chartreux of Paris, a service of plate, and of the monks asking for parchment instead. Now also arose the custom of erasing what was written on old parchment, and of re-writing something on it of more immediate interest. In this way, doubtless, many relics of antiquity have disappeared. While, from the imperfect manner in which the old writing was sometimes effaced, it has occasionally been recovered. A manuscript thus restored, from under the second writing above it, is called a palimpsest, and a codex rescriptus. There is, for instance, in the British Museum, one of the oldest known manuscripts of Homer's poems thus resuscitated. Recently Cardinal Angelo Mai discovered in the Vatican Library of Rome a lost treatise of Cicero de Republica, over which had been written a commentary of St. Augustine on the Psalms. And one of the most precious existing MSS. of the New Testament is now in Paris, over which had been written the works of the Syrian father Ephraim. The want of something cheaper than parchment was soon met by the discovery of paper; which seems to have come gradually, and as it were imperceptibly, into use. There is no evidence that cotton paper was used in Europe earlier than the 9th century; while that made from linen was not known before the 12th. In this case, as in many other European discoveries, the Chinese are said to have preceded us, though without ever making there inventions very extensively useful. It must be also clearly recollected that the newly-discovered material was supposed to be in the place of the papyrus which was gone: as the name of the ancient reed-made papyrus was quickly applied to the paler made from the cotton or the linen.
The quality of the material upon which any manuscript may be written, goes of course a considerable way in determining its age. The parchment of one century is not the same as that of another. Nothing written on cotton paper can be older than Charlemagne; and nothing on linen paper, than William the Conqueror. Moreover the quality of the material decided most unerringly the kind of characters traced, and so gives us a corroborating testimony to the age of a document.
The characters of every branch of the three great languages, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, were all originally much the same. Many of our own printed capital letters approach most nearly to the oldest known types of the Phoenician and the Greek alphabets. They were generally hard, and composed of straight lines; indicating that they had first been cut upon stone; just as the cuneiform characters of Nineveh and Babylon are precisely such as would be stamped on clay with the blunt end of a style.
From the ancient Phoenician type, two chief branches divided: the ancient Greek and the ancient Hebrew character. The former are represented almost exactly by the capital Greek letters now in use; while the latter have no living representatives, but are known by inscriptions on coins of the Maccaban dynasties, and on the ruins of Palmra: for the Greek small letters, and the Hebrew square characters, are comparatively modern.
All the ancient Greek manuscripts are therefore written only with the capital, or, as they are called, the uncial letters; being those which would naturally be formed by any one writing carefully on a valuable parchment. But with the use of paper, a new letter became known, viz., what we call the small letter, or which is also called the cursive character. This small Greek letter was absolutely unknown before the use of paper was discovered. Therefore every manuscript so written is certainly of a date posterior to the age of Charlemagne.
That age was one of considerable activity, and of vigorous effort to escape from the gloom that was setting about Europe. One sign of that activity was the use of paper for the quicker and cheaper writing then demanded. Whether from the use of a cheaper material, or because of the need of quickness, it is certain that men then began to write more rapidly and carelessly, and could no longer wait to form the careful uncial or capital letter, but, by making them quickly, contracted them into the cursive or small characters, which bore about the same relation to the unicials as our hand-writing now does to our printing. And these small letters were not the well-formed elegant things turned out by our modern type foundries: they were irregular, and ugly, and illegible, differing very much in different manuscripts; so that, even when they came to be printed, it was some time before the printers made them otherwise than had been exhibited in the scrawls of the 13th and 14th centuries. We have begun to make them more regularly and carefully, and have eschewed all those abominable contractions in which the early printers delighted. But still it ought to be borne in mind, as a fact not very generally known, that our small Greek letters, now printed, are really more carefully formed from the bad writing of the manuscripts just anterior to the discovery of printing; and that this bad writing was only a hurried way of dashing through the uncial or capital letters, such as we see on the classical monuments, and in the parchment MSS.
In the case of the Hebrew letters, we have an entirely new mode of proceeding. There are no Hebrew MSS. in existence older than the 10th century, that same age which saw the discovery of paper and the use of small cursive letters. The only ancient monuments of the old Hebrew letter—such as the coins of the Maccabees—a coin of Bar Cochab—and the inscriptions at Palmra—are not the same as the present beautiful square Hebrew character.
We are, therefore, irresistibly driven to the conclusion that these elegant letters come from the schools of Babylon and Tiberias, where the doctors of the post-Christian dispersion so long congregated, and which were broken up about the 10th century—that is, about the time of the oldest document in which these square letters are found. They are precisely of the form which painstaking scrupulous men, like the masoretic doctors of Babylon, would make out of the harder and more irregular letters hitherto used. And, indeed, the rise of these specimens of calligraphy is almost contemporary with the rise of the ecclesiastical or black letter in Europe, in the more valuable MSS. which the hardworking Monks painted, rather than wrote. Formerly there was a current opinion that the Jews at the Babylonish captivity, in Daniel's and Ezra's time, gave up their own letters and adopted those of their masters. And so the square characters came to be called Chaldean. The improbability and the baselessness of the story, never seem to have struck any one. But as soon as it was discovered that the Babylonians never used this letter, the story was given up. So likewise, when it is known that these square characters had no existence before what is also called the Captivity—in that period when the Babylonian Jews were governed, under the Sassanians and the Caliphs, by their ow n Prince of the Captivity—there can be little doubt that this period saw the invention of the square characters; and that the story of the adoption of them in the time of Ezra, really arose from confounding together the first and the second captivities at Babylon. W. H. J.

Notes of a Lecture on Matthew 13

The part of the subject which will occupy us this evening, beloved friends, in treating of the coming again of our beloved Lord, is the sorrowful side of it. What we had before us in the previous lectures was the blessings and joys of the saints, founded on the sure promise of Christ Himself that He would come again; and we found that their looking for the fulfillment of that promise was connected with their every thought and action. But it is of the greatest importance that we should look at this sorrowful side as well as the other, that man may see the consequence and effect of his responsibility.
The coming of Christ has a double aspect. As regards the professing church, and the world at large too, Scripture speaks of His appearing; because then it is that the result of their responsibility is manifested. As regards the body of Christ, it speaks of His coming, and our taking up to Himself. It is one thing to own the church as a responsible body in the world—another thing to look at it as one with Him. When we turn to that which has been set by God as a system down here, and see the failure of it, it is to be judged in respect of that failure as every system set up by God has been—(each having been first established on the footing of man's responsibility).
There is never anything else but failure exhibited in man. Look all through the Scriptures, where we have man's history from the very beginning of creation, and we find nothing but failure. Adam most signally failed in what God had entrusted him with. And then when law was given, even before Moses came down from the mount, man had made the golden calf to worship it. So when Aaron and his sons were consecrated, on the eighth day, the first day of their service, they offered strange fire: and, as a consequence, the free and constant entrance of Aaron into the holy place was stopped. Solomon, the son of David, was given glory and riches by God, but his heart was turned from Him by strange wives, and he fell into idolatry, and the kingdom was divided. God trusts Nebuchadnezzar with power, and he is the head of gold among the Gentiles: he gets into pride, and throws the saints into the fire; he loses his reason and senses for seven years (a figure of the Gentile empires), and eats grass like an ox. So with everything. So it is with the church, and man cannot mend it. Grievous wolves, says Paul, will come in after my decease; and there will be a falling away, and then Antichrist be fully revealed. The church itself as a system, trusted to man's responsibility, has been all a failure.
All was set up in the first Adam, who has failed. All will be made good in the second Adam, who is perfect, and has overcome. But it is hard to get saints to lay hold of the entirely new position in which all is set by redemption, an l by the resurrection of Christ. The first Adam failed, and was cast out. The second Adam, perfect, is come into a better paradise. So of everything. In the same way, law, which man broke, will be written on his heart. Christ will be the true Son of David. Christ will rise to reign over the Gentiles. So, as the church has failed, He will yet be glorified in His saints, and admired in all them that believe. In each position in which God has tried man what Scripture teaches us is that man has failed in his responsibility, and that God's plans will go on. in His patient mercy till all is fulfilled in Christ.
If we now turn to this responsibility, we shall find there are two subjects before us as engaged in it: the professing church is one; power in the earth, shown in the beasts, is the other. Both are found corrupt, or at open enmity with God; that which is called the church will be utterly rejected of God—spewed out. The thing which Scripture teaches us is, not that we shall fill the world with blessing, but entirely the contrary. The evil introduced by Satan where Christianity had been planted, will never be remedied until the harvest. Such a thought is humbling, but gives no ground for discouragement, for Christ is ever faithful. It is the occasion, dear friends, for those who have the grace of God to walk more in accordance with it. But it is a solemn thing, if what we have to look forward to is the cutting off of the professing church.
Geographically speaking, Christianity was more widely spread in the sixth century than now; the world as then known was more acquainted with the Gospel than it is now. Whatever man may say about progress and the like, a great part of what was then the Christian world, and heard of Christ, is now overrun by Mohammedanism or Popery; and, where that is not so, how far has infidelity and Puseyism prevailed! But it is this very thing that calls for earnestness in those who have the Spirit of God. He is surely working very specially in these days; and in the tide of evil we have the strongest possible motive for energy and activity. It is always right, but the inroad of evil specially calls for it, as in the days of Noah, in the sense of approaching judgment. The false idea of converting the world may give a stimulus for a time, but it destroys the solemn sense of what God is, and enfeebles the authority of God's word, which gives no such hope. When it is gradually found, too, that evil is growing up, and that the world is not converted, the reaction tends to subvert the faith, and cast into infidelity.
The evil which works now was declared from the beginning, and will continue its course (such is the declaration of Scripture) till God interferes—will not be remedied until the harvest. Such is the clear teaching of the parable I have to read to you. It is a similitude of the kingdom of heaven.
People very often take the kingdom of heaven as if it was the same thing as the church of God; but this is no way the case, though those who compose the church are in the kingdom. Supposing for a moment that Christ had not been rejected, the kingdom would have been set up on earth. It could not be so, no doubt, but it shows the difference between the kingdom and the church. As it was, the kingdom of God was there in the person of Christ, the King. Only as He was on earth, it was not the kingdom of heaven. But Christ being rejected, He could not take it outwardly then, but ascended on high. Thus the sphere of the rule of Christ is in heaven. The heavens rule, and the kingdom is always the kingdom of heaven, because the king is in heaven; only at the end it will be subdivided, so to speak, into the kingdom of our Father, the heavenly part, and the kingdom of the Son of man, the earthly part. If we understand the kingdom of heaven as the rule of Christ, when the king is in heaven, it is very simple. If Christ had set up a kingdom when He was with the Jews, it would not have been the kingdom of heaven, because He was not in heaven. Hence, it is said, “the kingdom of God is among you,” but “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
The gospel is the only means we have of gathering souls into the kingdom, and such are properly the children of the kingdom; but, within its limits, Satan works and sows tares, and they are in the kingdom. Take Popery, Mohammedanism, all manner of heretics: these are tares which have been sown where the good seed had been. Church means, or is rather, simply an assembly—an idea which has nothing to do with the thought of a kingdom. The parable I did not read, where we have Christ sowing the good seed, is not a similitude of the kingdom of heaven. A kingdom is a sphere where one rules as king. Christ is simply there sowing the word in men's hearts. It does not describe the kingdom of heaven, nor even the kingdom begun by the king being on earth; it is individual in its character.
The moment He comes to this and the two following parables, we have a similitude of the kingdom of heaven. They describe the outward result in this world of the fact of Christ the King's being in heaven. You will remark that these are spoken to the multitude; the three last, and the explanation of the tares and wheat, to the disciples, showing the mind and purpose of God—what divine intelligence knows and does, not mere public result in the world. The tares and wheat show the outward result, in the world, of the Gospel. In the next, it becomes a great tree—a great tree, in Scripture, signifying great power. That is what Christianity became in the world from a little seed—a great political power, like the kingdoms of the world. The next shows it as a doctrine pervading a mass of measured extent, as a little leaven penetrates through the lump of dough.
Then the Lord goes into the house, and explains God's mind about these things. (Verse 36.) “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house, and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.” The servants inquire if they should gather the fares up. They are forbidden to do it. Our part is not judgment or excision in this world. We have not to root out evil out of the world by persecution. We have seen often that the wheat was rooted up. They must grow in the field, that is the world, till harvest. “But he said, nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.” We learn from this, not only that Christianity does not spread every where, but that where it does spread, it becomes corrupted. And, if we look at the state of Christendom, we cannot but see that this is the case. We see how the tares have been sown and sprung up, how false doctrines have crept in, Popery, and all kinds of errors. Then our Lord, having sent the multitude away, and gone into the house, explained the parable to his disciples.
You will now remark that, as I have said, in these parables, with the explanation of the first, you have two distinct things—the outward result, and the unfolding of God's design in it. Thus, with regard to the grain of mustard seed, you have the outward result—it becomes a great tree, which, in Scripture, is simply a great public power. The king of Assyria is represented as a great tree. So Pharaoh is represented as a great tree. And Nebuchadnezzar was a great tree, which was hewn down, but whose stump and roots were left in the earth. In a word, it means simply a great power. And that was what Christianity became in the world—the greatest power in it. The figure in the parable does not raise the question whether it was good or bad, but simply represents that it was a great public power in the world. The little seed of the truth, sown at the first, took root, and grew up to be a great tree. So in the case of the leaven, working within a certain sphere, represented by three measures of meal—it worked there until the whole was leavened. The doctrines of Christianity penetrate through the whole. But no reference is there made to godliness or sanctity. Christianity is represented as a public, outward thing, making its way in the world. But, having sent the multitude away, the Lord takes up an entirely different thing, and explains, not the outward effect, but God's mind in the transactions represented by these parables. And He begins by explaining the parable of the tares of the field. Verse 34, “All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables.... Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man: the field is the world.”
Mark how perfectly absurd it is to think, as some do, that it is the Church which is here spoken of. The Son of man comes to sow the gospel, the word of God, in the world—not in the Church. The Church has received it already. The Church is composed of those who professedly or really, as the case may be, have already received the good seed. He does not sow it in the Church, which would be repeating what had been done before, but in the world. “The field is the world,” and nothing can be more absurd than to apply this to the Church, or to bring it up in connection with any Church question.
“The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one.” It is not that the wheat is spoiled. The Lord will gather that and have it in His garner. But the crop is spoiled. Christianity, as an outward thing in the world, has been corrupted, through the prevalence of all kinds of error and wickedness. “The enemy that sowed them is the devil: the harvest is the end of the world,” that is, “of the age.” It is not the end of the world, in the ordinary sense, that is spoken of; it is “the end of the age:” there is no dispute about that for any one acquainted with the original: “And the reapers are the angels. As, therefore, the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world” (“of this age”). “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” That is, the mischief which Satan has done will go on until the Lord executes righteous judgment on the world. The corruption of Christianity, the spoiling of the crop—not of the wheat, because God takes care of that, and gathers it into His garner—but of the crop (the public, outward thing, which Satan has set himself to corrupt and spoil) will go on until the harvest.
And indeed on this point we get a little more precise information. The first thing, we learn, will be the gathering together of the tares (those who have grown up as the fruit of the corrupt principles, sown by Satan where the Gospel had been planted) in bundles to be burned. And then He gathers His wheat into His garner—takes His saints to be with Himself. This is all the parable states. The explanation goes farther, and gives the manifested result when Jesus shall appear. “Then shall the righteous shine forth,” —they have been gathered already— “then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father,” as the wicked are cast into a furnace of fire, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. We have first, then, the tares growing till harvest, and then the Lord gathers out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity. There is much instruction here, but I will not detain you now with entering into more than the general idea. We have this, however, very distinctly brought before us, that while the Lord gets His own wheat in the garner, yet the crop sown in the world is spoiled; while men slept, the devil comes and spoils the plan by sowing false principles of Judaism, and legalism, and immorality or Antinomianism, and false doctrines about Christ. By all these things the crop is spoiled, and that is never mended in the world until judgment comes.
You will now see, by comparing other passages, that the Church, having a certain responsibility entrusted to her in the earth, has not fulfilled what that responsibility made incumbent upon her, and comes under judgment. Turn to Rom. 11 and you will see distinctly this principle laid down. As to the facts, we shall refer to other passages. There, after speaking of the cutting off of the Jews, the Apostle says: “Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, the branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well, because of unbelief they were broken off; and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear. For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.——-For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” It is exactly through being wise in its own conceit that the professing Church has fallen. It has looked on the Jews as entirely set aside, forgetting that “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” —that He never changes His mind—that, though He can create and then destroy, He never sets aside His own design and purpose; and that, God having called the Jews as a nation, He never will lay aside that purpose. But the Church has been wise in their own conceits, thinking that the Jews are set aside, and that the Church never can be.
But we shall find exactly fulfilled, as regards the Church as an outward thing in the world, what is stated in this chapter, that, if it continue not in God's goodness, it will be cut off This is the specific instruction contained in this passage, with reference to those brought in by faith, after the natural branches were broken off, that is, Christendom, that they are placed on this ground; that, if they do not continue in God's goodness, they will be cut off like the Jews. The only question is, how long forbearance may be extended to them. “Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Quite true, the Apostle replies, but “became of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear. For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of God.” &c. Now, what I ask is this: has the professing Church continued in God's goodness? Do we not see Popery and Mohammedanism prevalent where Christianity was originally planted? Have they continued, then, in God's goodness? There is nothing said about being restored. That will not do; what is required is to “continue.” It is the same as when a man who has broken law, says, “I will do right for the future.” That does not meet the law's claims; he has not “continued in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” And I ask, has the Church continued in God's goodness? Is that which we now see in Christendom what God set up in His Church in the beginning, or anything like it? Has not the professing Church turned to ceremonies and sacraments, and all kinds of things other than Christ, in order to be saved by them? They have not continued in God's goodness. You can see that most plainly. Our own consciousness testifies to it. But, if they continue not in God's goodness, the whole of Christendom, the Apostle says, will be cut off, and the Jews will be grafted in again. There cannot be the least doubt of that. “And they also, if they abide not in unbelief, shall be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again.” — “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” As soon as the Lord has gathered the real Church of God, and taken them up to heaven, He sets up the Jews again.
Turn now to the positive testimony. What I have been reading is conditional; it shows what will take place, if they continue not in God's goodness. We shall see now if they have continued. You will find that Jude brings it out in a very striking way, because he takes up the whole history of Christianity from beginning to end. “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called” —that is, the true saints— “Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” That is, I would have written in order that you may be built up in the truth, but through the coming in of evil I am obliged to exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation; ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We see, then, the cause of the falling away-that already in Jude's time these men had crept in unawares into the Church of God, and were bringing in corruption. And he warns them that the same thing had happened in the case of Israel, when brought out of Egypt, and had caused them to fall in the wilderness: they had not maintained faithfulness. He refers them also to the case of the angels who kept not their first estate, because the principle of apostasy crept in. And mark the way in which he speaks of these men that had crept in unawares, of these tares that Satan had sown. Look at verse 14, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints to execute judgment upon all; and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
That is, under the inspiration of the prophetic Spirit of God, he sees the mischief and evil done by these persons, and sees that it was to grow and ripen up to judgment, as we shall soon see appears elsewhere. And he tells the saints that the mischief has begun, and therefore he warns them that they “should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” And the Lord executes judgment, because, instead of the world becoming filled with the blessedness of the gospel, the Church has got corrupted. That it is prophesied that the filling the world with blessedness is to be brought about by Israel and not by the Church, you will see, and that very distinctly indeed, when we come to other passages. But here we get a remarkable prophecy, showing that (as in Rom. 11 was declared that, if they did not continue in God's goodness, they should be cut of) they will not continue in God's goodness; and it gives us the history of the Church in the world from the beginning to the end of it, when the Lord shall come with ten thousands of His saints to execute judgment. It is as plain and distinct a declaration as it possibly could be; and you will find that the whole testimony of Scripture concurs, as of course it must concur, in the same truth.
Turn now to Habakkuk, where you have one of these passages which are constantly in people's minds, as showing that the Gospel is to go on and spread until it fills the world. I refer to them merely for the negative purpose of pointing out that they show nothing of the kind. Habakkuk, chap. 2, verse 12: “Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and establisheth a city by iniquity. Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts that the people shall labor in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity? For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” The people are all laboring in the fire, and wearying themselves for very vanity, and then the glory comes and fills the earth.
Turn now to other passages, where it is not stated conditionally, or in a general prophetic manner, but where distinct details are given of that which would come about. Turn to 2 Thessalonians, and you will find there the connected details of the course of that of which Jude has already given us the beginning. But the general fact we also have stated in the Philippians, where the apostle says, “I have no man like-minded; for all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.” That surely was an early period in the history of the Church, to say that Christians were in a state of such decline and decay that they were not seeking the things of Jesus Christ, but their own interest. When we return to second Epistle of Thessalonians we get this very distinctly brought out. “Now we beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as that the day of Christ (rather of the Lord) is” (not “at hand,” but) here. The expression “at hand” makes it almost impossible to get at the sense of the passage; it means “here or present,” the same word being used as when things “present” are contrasted with things “to come.”
The whole point of the apostle's statement rests on this, that the Thessalonians thought that the day of the Lord was “here” —that it had already come-that their having got into so much dreadful tribulation and persecution proved that it had come. The expression “the day of the Lord at hand” is often made use of as occurring in this passage, while in fact there is nothing of the kind in it. The Thessalonians thought, not that it was at hand, but that it had come, and therefore the apostle says, “Let no man deceive you by any means, for that day shall not come, except there come the falling away first” —that is, a not continuing in God's goodness.
Therefore, as the apostle had stated that, if they did not continue in God's goodness, they would be cut off, we have here the positive revelation or prophecy, that they would not continue in God's goodness, that there would come the falling away, and that the day of the Lord cannot come, until that falling away or apostasy takes place. So it is plain on the face of it, that, in place of the Church continuing in God's goodness, the directly opposite is the case. The apostle shows how the declension goes on— “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come the falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember ye not that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things And now ye know what withholdeth, that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” That is the important point here, that already, as to its general principles, it was going on in the apostle's days. Even then the enemy was at work, sowing tares. Only it was a mystery; it was going on secretly, in a hidden way. There was Judaism, and Antinomianism, making high professions of grace with a corrupt practice, and various other forms of heresy, as the denial that Christ was a real man, &c., all of which are mentioned in Scripture—we do not require to go to church history at all to find them. They denied the humanity, quite as soon as they did the divinity, of the Lord.
We find then that this mystery of iniquity was already at work, in the time of the apostle, and it was then only hindered from going on; it was not to be set aside. The time will come when it will be set aside, when Babylon will be destroyed, but not by the word. I may first refer for a moment to this point. In the book of Revelation (chapter 17) you find that it is the ten horns and the beast which shall destroy the great whore, and burn her with fire, and then men will be given up to even still greater evil—giving their power to the beast; and then judgment.
Returning to the passage in Thessalonians, we find the apostle says— “The mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” We get here this very important truth, as regards the responsibility of the church that what was working to corrupt it in the time of the apostle himself would go on, until what hindered the full development of iniquity was removed, and then that wicked would be revealed, &c. That, as I have said, is the very opposite of continuing in God's goodness. It is intimated to us, that what was mysteriously working then would ripen and mature up to the open revelation of the man of sin, whom the Lord will consume and destroy— “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” That is the way in which the professing church will be dealt with. Having refused to retain the truth—the real truth of God, God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie— “That they all might be damned, who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
The Lord then comes and destroys the wicked, the evil being open and evident; it is no longer a mystery. This is for us a very solemn view of God's dealings. It is not the pleasant and bright side. The pleasant bright side is the blessedness the saints will have at the coming of the Lord Jesus, in being gathered together to Him. The apostle says to the saints—you will all be taken up to meet the Lord in the air, and therefore you cannot think that the day of the Lord is here, for that day will not find you here at all. That day is the execution of judgment on ungodly men. It is as if a rebellion were going on at Toronto, and the Queen were to say—I will have all my loyal subjects with me at Montreal first, and then judgment will be executed. And so long as you were not at Montreal, it would be evident that that day of judgment had not arrived yet. That is the reason why, when it is said, Lo, here, and Lo, there, we know it does not apply to us. To a Jew it is different. If you say to a Jew, who is expecting Christ, Lo, here, or Lo, there, it is a snare to him. But, if it is said to us, we can only answer—It is impossible, for we are going up to meet the Lord in the air, not to find him here, and I am not there yet. So he beseeches them by our gathering together to Him not to be troubled as if the day was come.
In this passage then which I have read, you have the positive declaration, that what had begun in the apostle's time goes on, until Christ comes to execute judgment; and you find another distinct and definite declaration of this kind in 1 Timothy chap. 4. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron.”
Then, in 2 Timothy chap. 3, we have very definitely and distinctly stated what the last days will be. “This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come” —not that the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord (that is a blessed time), but that “in the last days perilous times shall come.” “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” That is the character of the last days. There will be a great form of godliness, much superstitious worship, but a denial of the power of godliness. That is not a continuing in God's goodness, when the professing church in the last days, with a great form of godliness, denies the power thereof.
It is a remarkable proof of the power of Satan, that, in the face of these passages, men, wise in their own conceits, will bring reasoning to prove, that they are to go on and fill the whole world with the gospel—that, at the very time that judgments are hastening upon them, men will cherish the expectation of the earth being filled with a widespread blessedness, is the strongest possible evidence of the power of that delusion of which the apostle speaks. It is not that God is not working, and turning men from darkness to light. It was the same before the destruction of Jerusalem; three thousand were converted in a day. If we had three thousand converted in a day now, would it be a proof that the millennium was coming? No, but rather that it was judgment which was coming. It was because the judgment was coming that that happened. It was the Lord's gathering out His saints before the judgment and adding to the Church such as should be saved. And, if He is now working in a special manner to gather out souls, it is not because the gospel is to fill the world, but because judgment is coming upon the professing church.
The apostle shows that the declension will go on, that it will not be set aside. For “evil men and seducers,” he says, “shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” And then he gives the resource under such circumstances. “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” It is as much as to say, you cannot trust the Church, which will have but a form of godliness, denying the power—your resource must be the holy scriptures of truth.
You will find, again, how this mystery of iniquity began to work at the very outset, by turning to the second chapter of the first epistle of John, where this very question is treated of. “Little children, it is the last time.” It seems a remarkable thing for the apostle to speak of the very time when Christianity commenced to be diffused as the last time. God's patience has nevertheless continued to go on from that time to this day, for with Him one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. “And as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists.” It is not the Antichrist whom he speaks of, but he says that already there were many antichrists—already the mystery of iniquity, the spirit of evil, was working— “whereby we know that it is the last time.” We have seen that the last days are a perilous time; and here we see that the apostle knows it to be the last time, because there are many antichrists. Is it possible then that the last time will be a time when the whole world will be filled with such blessedness as some speak of? The whole testimony of Scripture is as plain as can be to the contrary, “whereby we know it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” They adopt false principles; their Christianity becomes corrupted; and they go out.
Turn now to Luke 18, which occurs to my mind in connection with this, showing how far the professing church is from continuing in God's goodness (verse 6th)— “And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that be will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” That is not like having the world full of the gospel. He puts the question -will there be some individuals still expecting His interference and intervention? but He does not say there will be. The Church will be gone, and the question is-will there be any looking for His interference I will there be any one expecting the Lord to descend on the earth?
It may be well now perhaps to turn to a few passages—because they rest in people's minds, in looking at this subject-about the Gospel being preached to all nations and the like. I believe that this ought to have been done from the beginning by those to whom God hath given grace. But that is not the question. The question is, whether there has not been a failure on the part of the Church, as to the discharge of its responsibility. It is not a question whether they ought to diffuse the gospel—of course they ought. In the sixth century, Christianity was the all but national religion of China, and there are fragments of it there still. The limits of nominal Christendom are now very much contracted from what they were in former times. Formerly they embraced all the north of Africa, and, in a measure, all Asia. Now they are almost confined to Europe, except that in these modern times they include also the scattered populations in America.
Let us turn then to the passages which speak of the prevalence of the gospel. That in Matt. 24 is one of them. “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then” —not the millennium, but— “shall the end come.” There is nothing here about filling the world with blessedness. But the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached for a witness to all nations, and then will come the end—the judgment, the end of this age. It is not said that the world is to be filled with blessing. To suppose so is being wise in your own conceit. It is said that the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will fill the world, but it is not said that the gospel will, although men, fancying that they have the power to bring it about, speak as if it were the gospel that was to do this.
If you look at Rev. 14 you will find this brought out still more distinctly and clearly, that the end comes when the gospel is sent for a witness to all nations. You often hear the passage quoted to show that the gospel is to be preached to all nations, which is no doubt a blessed truth in its place. But, to see the effect of it, we must take the whole passage: verse 6th, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation and kindred and tongue and people, saying, with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come.” It is almost a miracle how people read Scripture without understanding it. Whoever has been in the habit of frequenting public meetings, and listening to speakers from public platforms, must have heard that passage quoted hundreds of times, as if it meant that the Gospel is so to be preached to all nations, that it is to fill the whole world with light, while a moment's consideration would show that this preaching of the Gospel is a precursor of judgments. I shall now refer to the passages which speak of the knowledge of the Lord covering the earth as the waters cover the sea.
But before doing that, let me just quote one passage in Isaiah (chapter 26), where you will see that this is brought, not by the Gospel, but by judgments. Verse 9th: “With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early; for, when thy judgments are in the earth” (not the Gospel, but judgments) “the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” “Let favor” (that is, grace, or the Gospel) “be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness.” There must be judgment; the time of harvest must come, as in the parable of the tares. “In the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord. Lord, when thy hand is lifted up” (when He is just going to strike), “they will not see; but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them.”
Turn now to Habbakuk, where you have one of these passages which are constantly in people's minds, as showing that the Gospel is to go on and spread until it fills the world. I refer to them merely for the negative purpose of pointing out that they show nothing of the kind. Habakkuk, chap. 2, verse 12: “Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and establisheth a city by iniquity. Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts that the people shall labor in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity! For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” The people are all laboring in the fire, and wearying themselves for very vanity; and then the glory comes and fills the earth.
Turn now to Numbers—another of the only three passages in which what I am now referring to is spoken of in that way; and, in chapter 14, you will find what the Lord means by filling the earth with His glory. When the people had sinned against the Lord, and murmured against Moses, God said He would destroy them, and Moses then interceded for them. “Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people, according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now. And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word: but as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. Because all these men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice, surely they shall not see the land which I swam unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it.” That, of course, is judgment; and the filling of the earth with God's glory here has nothing to do with the Gospel. The Lord will have the whole earth full of His glory, but He does not use the Gospel for that purpose. He does send the Gospel, and urges it upon men with infinite patience and goodness; but they reject it; and then comes judgment.
In one other passage the expression occurs. You will find it in Isa. 11 “But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb.... They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” —that is when God smites the earth, and slays thee wicked. “And,” the prophecy goes on, “in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, from Assyria and from Egypt,” &c. That is, the Lord gathers the Jews, and slays the wicked; and it is then the earth is full of the knowledge of Jehovah. “And the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off. Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim; but they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines towards the west; they shall spoil them of the east together,” and so on—showing that there is to be an execution of judgment in the earth.
Turn now to Isa. 66, where the glory of the Lord is also spoken of. And, in referring to these passages which are so constantly quoted, it is always an excellent plan to read the context. In this passage the glory of the Lord is brought in by: fire and by sword. Verse 15th, “For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and see my glory.” The glory of the Lord here, comes with the execution of judgment; there is nothing of the gospel at all.
You see, then, these three points. First, you have the statement that, after God had sown the good seed, the enemy came and sowed the evil. Then you have the conditional declaration, that the professing Church, if it did not continue in God's goodness, would, as an outward thing, be cut off. Then, further, you have the declaration that that evil, which had begun in the time of the apostles, would go on to the end, the Lord only restraining the public manifestation of it until the time of judgment approached at Christ's coming, the fullness of the Gentiles being come in, and then that wicked would be cut off; also, that in. the last days perilous times would come, and Antichrist would come.
We have seen also that the passages referring to the earth being filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, and the like, are all connected with judgment, and that when favor is showed to the wicked, as in the gospel, he will not learn righteousness.
If you turn to the Revelation, you will get a little more of detail about the falling away, and about what the character of that evil which is at work. But before we quote from the Revelation, let me remark that the two great characters of evil from the beginning have been corruption and violence. Before the deluge, the earth was corrupt before God, and filled with violence. And in the Revelation, “Babylon” is the expression of corruption, while the “beast” is the expression of violence. I cannot, this evening, enter into details as to this part of the subject, but I wish to show you how the one runs into the other. In chap. 17, the expression “the great whore” indicates the power of corruption. At the 15th verse, it is said, “The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues,” —the reference here is to the influence over the nations which a corrupt Christianity has exercised, — “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon and on the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.” Of course, that is not the gospel; it is violence putting an end to corruption. “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast.”
It is not when Babylon is destroyed that the kingdom is given to the Son of man. It is given then to the beast. The effect of the destruction of all this corrupt influence of outward, nominal Christianity, of the awful corruption of the Papal system, which was the center of it all, that “Mother of abominations of the earth,” —the effect of the destruction of that, through the hatred and disgust of those connected with it, and disgusted and wearied with it, will be to put the power of the world into the hands of the beast. There is nothing at all here about the gospel. It is the violence of man refusing longer to submit to priestly power. When one reads Scripture, simply desiring to learn what it teaches, he cannot but be surprised how people form from it the systems they do. They take hold of some abstract principle, and, following it out, succeed in finding it in Scripture according to their expectations. In studying the Scriptures, they settle first what the Scriptures should teach, instead of being content to take simply what they do actually state.
Turn now to chapter 16, and you will find more about the time when judgment shall be executed upon Babylon, although we cannot now enter into the various details of it. “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.” These are the powers of evil. “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief.” It is the devil who gathers the whole world to that great battle. People may discuss what is meant by the dragon, and the beast, and the false prophet. I have very little doubt on that point; and I may just say, without entering into the details, that the dragon is the power of Satan, that the beast is the Roman Empire, and that the false prophet is the false Messiah at the time of the end.
I do not dwell upon this; but at all events it is perfectly clear that the three unclean spirits, which gather the nations to the battle of the great day of God Almighty, are not the gospel. It is the battle which in Isaiah is said to be with burning and fuel of fire. The nations are gathered to Armageddon, and then comes the judgment. The beast and its horns destroy Babylon, that great corrupt system, and then the beast and the kings of the earth are gathered by evil spirits against the power of Christ, Satan being cast down from heaven.
In chapter 19 of the Revelation, we read that there comes forth on the white horse He who has on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords; that the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies are gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army; “and the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image; these both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone; and the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse.” Thus we get here very distinctly that there is an execution of judgment. And after that—after the execution of judgment, Satan is bound.
Then we have a passage, which is the only ground we have for saying that there is to be a millennium—a thousand years of blessedness. We have seen the general statements that the world will be full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, but that is to be by judgment. But the only proof we have that the period of blessedness is to last a thousand years—the only evidence for this particular character of the glory which is coming—is found in chapter 20 of the Revelation. We have plenty of testimony that there will be a time of blessedness, but this specific character of it is only found here, and that is after the Lord has come as King of kings, and Lord of lords, and executed judgment, and Satan is bound. Satan has been corrupting everything; but, when he is bound, he can no longer do so; and then come the thousand years, and thrones and judgment are given to us. The saints shall judge the world, for so God has revealed in His word.
Are there not many professing Christians who, if you were to say to them, “do you not know you are to judge angels?” would think you were mad? And yet it was to the Corinthians, (who were very far from being the most perfect of Christians, for they were, indeed, going on very hardly,) that this was said. The full import of the connection of the Church with Christ has been almost wholly forgotten. People talk of their hopes of being saved, and of living godly; but the connection of the Church with the second Adam is practically forgotten. The power of redemption, and the high privileges connected with it, are overlooked.
Let us revert for a moment to Revelation, chapter 13, to see how intimately the saints are associated with Christ in that day. We read that the beast and the kings of the earth shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings; “and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” That description does not apply to angels. No doubt He will come with the holy angels; but the expression, “called, and chosen, and faithful,” applies to the saints, who come “arrayed in fine linen, clean and white,” which “is the righteousness of saints” So arrayed, they come with the Lord. We shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air; and when He appears, we shall also appear with Him in glory.
There is another point I wish to show you, although I cannot go into details. I can only touch upon the great principles bearing on the subject we are considering, and pass over them very rapidly. You will remember a passage of sacred history in the time of Elijah, recorded in the Kings. God had seen that there were seven thousand in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal, although Elijah had fancied that he only was left, and they sought his life to take it away. Acting under God's authority, Elijah raised the question whether Baal was God, or Jehovah was God, and proceeded to test it by a public demonstration in the face of all the people. And he proposed to test it in this way, that he who answered by fire should be acknowledged as God. Sacrifices accordingly were prepared, and the priests of Baal cried aloud from morning until noon, “O Baal, hear us!” And Elijah mocked them, and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is on a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.” And they cried aloud, and cut themselves with knives, until evening, but there was no answer. And then Elijah built an altar, and laid on it the sacrifice, and filled the trench about it with water, and called upon the Lord; and the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and licked up the water that was in the trench; and when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord [Jehovah] he is the God; the Lord he is the God.”
Now we find in the Revelation, that the false prophet brings down fire from heaven in the sight of men. It is all lies, of course; but he does it in such a way as to deceive men. The very thing which Elijah did to prove that Jehovah was the true God, the false prophet, or false Messiah, also appears to do—bringing down in the sight of men the very thing which proved Jehovah to be God; and that he succeeds by it in deceiving men, shows that they are given up to strong delusion to believe a lie. This refers to the government of the world, so far as the Jews are concerned.
If you turn to 2 Thessalonians, you will see the same, where Christianity is concerned, in connection with the apostasy: “Then shall that wicked be revealed ... even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs, and lying wonders.” Of course they are all “lying,” but still they are “powers, and signs, and wonders” —words verbally identical in the original with those used by Peter when he preached of “Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs.” That is, Antichrist does the same things, lying of course, but the same as regards men's apprehension of them, which proved Jesus to be the Christ, and the same things that proved Jehovah to be the true God. By these means he blinds and deceives the people, and leads them away to worship the dragon and the beast. He does this by bringing down fire from heaven and leads them to recognize the false Christ as the true one, by doing the same things—falsely, of course—as Christ had done. You cannot conceive a more awful and solemn thing, than that men should thus be given up to strong delusion to believe a lie, and to be subject to the power of him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders; and it is not surprising that the apostle should be so impressive in his warning, when he says, “This know, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”
Now, beloved friends, the more you search the Scriptures, the more you will find these great leading principles clearly brought out. But the professing church refuses to see them; and this is connected with what I pointed out at the outset, that everything which in God's great scheme is trusted to man is a failure. It was while man slept, that the enemy came and sowed the tares, and then we have the positive revelation that the church, not continuing in God's goodness, will be cut off. Therefore the notion that the outward church of God, after having become corrupt, will again be set right, is an entire delusion—I say outward Church of God; for, as regards individuals, what is revealed on this point is only a reason for greater faithfulness on their part. That is another question altogether.
As regards the duty of individuals, Scripture gives plenty of directions about that, even when speaking of the last days, when there shall be a form of godliness and a denial of the power thereof. From such, says the Spirit, turn away. It will be with the saints as with Elijah—there never will be a time when individually they will have a greater consciousness of the power of Christ, than in the time of general declension.
That, however, is not the point; the question is as to the outward manifestation and outward effect in the world. Men have comforted themselves with the thought of an invisible Church, forgetting that it is said, “Ye are the light of the world.” Of what value is an invisible light? It is said, “let your light so shine before men;” that is, let your profession of Christianity be so distinct “that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
And now, beloved friends, take this lesson with you, that, during this time of God's forbearance, until He comes forth to execute a judgment, a deep responsibility is laid upon each of us. Let each man take heed how and what he believes. Keep in mind that it is by false doctrines that Satan has corrupted the Church—by Judaism, by the worship of saints, and by all sorts of errors. We have not time to enumerate them all; but it is by the introduction of these false and heretical doctrines that Satan has succeeded in corrupting Christianity so much so, that, if you wished to look for really the darkest characters of evil, you would have to go among Christians to find it—of course Christians merely in name I mean, but yet those who boast that theirs is the only true Christianity in the world.
I only add now this thought: How important it is if we are approaching these scenes of judgment, that we should understand correctly what is the destiny of the Church, instead of imagining that all is to go on rightly until the whole world is filled with blessedness! How important is it that we should understand that this mystery of iniquity, already at work in the Apostle's days, is to go on until God leaves the bridle loose, as it were, for the whole power of evil to do its worst; that the evil is working until the saints are taken up to meet the Lord in the air, and then the power of Satan will begin to work! This surely is a solemn thought for me, if I care for the Church, how I have discharged my own responsibility, when the question is put, as in Jeremiah, “Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock? what wilt thou say when he shall punish thee?” Read the Acts, and see what Christendom is now, and say what likeness there is. Ask not only, is there the doctrine, but where is the practice now? Yet the Lord is faithful. And, when judgment comes, the Lord, having bought the field, has got the treasure safe, and He has kept it safe all the while.
We shall afterward take up that part of our subject Which connects God's dealings with the world more particularly with the Jews. But, meanwhile; the Lord give us to lay this to heart—the difference between what is called the Church, the outward thing, and what the Church really ought to be. And let us see what our own characters are, if there is anything in us which is an adequate fruit of the travail of the Son of God, and of the coming down of the Holy Ghost as the Comforter aril Sanctifier. It is best always, in making application of these truths, to begin with ourselves. Let us see, then; Whether in our hearts we love and care for Christ, and about the condition in which the Church of God is, or whether we are deceiving Ourselves by imagining that it is in a proper condition to set the world right. I do not doubt that the Holy Ghost is remarkably working now. From the first time these things broke in upon my mind, I have always expected that the Spirit of God would work; and I bless God that He is doing so much at this time. Yet I feel assured, from what I find in the Scriptures, that it is by judgment that this working is to be followed.

Melchizedek

The Melchizedek priesthood, in its order being eternal, and in its actings millennial, is full of precious truth about Christ, from beginning to end.
When that wondrous stranger met Abram, he met him as in the kingdom. He met him with the fruit of the vine which, as we know, is to be drunk in the kingdom (Luke 22:18). He refreshed Abram with a feast after the warfare was accomplished, and gave him a blessing from the possessor of heaven and earth. His acts, therefore, were those of one who was standing in the kingdom, or in the days of millennial glory.
But this was a feast upon a sacrifice. It was brought forth by a priest; and such a priest as had already secured or dispensed righteousness and peace, as his name and royalty signified: and this he was, and this he had done (I speak of him only as a type of the true priest, while still hidden in his temple, ere he met Abram). He had then dispensed such provisions as a needy sinner wanted; he was now dispensing what a weary conqueror after the toil of battle wanted. It had been already “righteousness and peace,” and now it was bread and wine,” and “blessing from the possessor of heaven and earth.”
Gen. 14 lets us know this, but does not carry us farther back than this. It shows us the feast of the kingdom after the warfare, and it intimates that such a feast had been preceded by the exercise of an efficacious priesthood. Heb. 7 resumes the mystery, affirming this suggestion of a previous efficacious priesthood, and then instructing us in the character of the sacrifice which that priesthood used, and in which all its efficacy rested.
But this is addition of a truly profound and wondrous kind.
Melchizedek, in Gen. 14, appears at once and abruptly, without any record of himself, in his parentage or ordination. The Spirit, in Heb. 7 uses this as an intimation of the person of the true Melchizedek. But it is a very faint one—justly so in so early a time as the days of Abraham. But still this is enough to make Melchizedek an image of the Son of God, in whom is “the power of an endless life.”
Thus there is intimation of the person of this priestly king in Gen. 14 But there was no intimation there, that it would be Himself whom the royal priest, the true Melchizedek, would offer up. There was no hint, whatever, of this; and yet, it is on this that the efficaciousness of the priesthood altogether depends—a truth which the epistle to the Hebrews largely and distinctly teaches.
So that however refreshing the feast was to the weary warrior, and however blessed the dispensation of righteousness and peace is to a weary sinner, all this rests on the value of that sacrifice which the disposer of peace and of royal refreshings had to offer and did offer, and of which Gen. 14 gives us no hint, but which the epistle fully and powerfully discloses.
“Himself” was the sacrifice, as this epistle again and again tells us. (See 1:3; 7: 27; 9:14, 26.) And this was the sacrifice that entitled the priest to dispense righteousness and peace, and then to spread a feast for the heir of the promise, when the kingdom had come, and the warfare was accomplished. For this “Himself” was “the Son,” the one who had “the power of an endless life.” Death, thereafter, found itself abolished, the moment it touched Him. The captive was the spoiler. The gates of hell could not prevail. He that had the power of death was destroyed. Sin was put away when such an one met its demand. He, “without spot,” offered Himself to God, “through the eternal Spirit.” How could it be, but that sin must be satisfied? The wages of sin was paid; that which was the sting of death was exhausted. The resurrection was the witness of all this.
The altar is thus revealed in this epistle, and only here. Gen. 14 had given us no sight of it And this is the profoundest of the mysteries; and we might well expect to wait for New Testament days to have it thus set forth.
The throne, the sanctuary, the altar—these we get in the combined visions, so to speak, of Gen. 14 and Heb. 7. The feast of the kingdom depends on the efficacious services of the sanctuary or priesthood, and they depend on the value of the altar or sacrifice.
It is this last point that is indeed the great sustaining truth. If the altar be not sufficient, all is gone: the sanctuary will confer no righteousness or peace, the kingdom no refreshing feast of bread and wine. But the altar is gloriously displayed in this epistle. Life is contemplated here, as being in Jesus, but it is life on the other side of death, and therefore the sacrifice or the death is proved to have been equal to its business of putting away sin, which is the sting or occasion of death. Jesus is displayed as One who, having gone down under the penalty, could rise up from thence in victory.

The Millenarian Question: Part 1

[The following letter was addressed to the esteemed author of a volume, entitled “The Flight of the Apostate.” A Poem in three Parts. By the Rev. H. NEWTON, B.A. Wertheim and Mackintosh, London. Its merits as a poem it would be out of the writer's province to discuss. It was on account of a long and ably-written note it contains on the millenarian question, that the volume was shown to him by its author. The following letter was written in reply, and as it discusses questions of general interest, it is presented without alteration to the reader.]
My Dear Sir, I have read with interest and attention, not only the notes you had marked for my perusal, but the entire volume of which they form a part. The notes contain as condensed a view as I have ever met with of the argument against pre-millennialism. Should you find time to read “Plain Papers on Prophetic Subjects,” I think you will see that I have there replied to almost each point touched upon in your notes; but as my replies are scattered through the volume, I will endeavor as briefly as I can to state why your arguments fail to convince me of the justice of the conclusion at which you have arrived.
In the first place, I demur entirely to the statement (page 101), that “the seat of the theory of the personal millennial reign of our Lord upon earth is acknowledged to be in Rev. 20:1-10.” That this passage treats of the subject, all who hold the doctrine of the personal reign will, of course, admit; that it supplies the instruction as to the period of that reign, from which the distinctive word “millennial” is drawn, is undoubtedly true; but to say that “the seat of the theory” “is acknowledged to be in Rev. 20,” is not correct. It represents us as acknowledging what we not only deny, but are prepared to disprove; viz., that it is from this passage exclusively or pre-eminently, that the knowledge and proof of the doctrine is to be drawn. For myself I can truly say, that except as to the single point of duration, it was not from this Scripture more than others, or so much as others, that my own belief of millenarianism was derived; and as to the point of duration, my views underwent no change when the pre-millennial doctrine was received. I believed in a thousand years of blessedness on earth before I saw that it was to be introduced by the personal coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The attempt to make the whole question turn on the interpretation of Rev. 20, is, in my opinion, much more common than just. Had it pleased God to withhold that chapter, or even the entire book of Revelation, the proof would still, it seems to me, have been complete and decisive, of a long period of universal righteousness and joy introduced by Christ's second coming, and characterized by his reigning along with his risen and glorified saints over Israel and the nations of the earth. You will not suppose, from this statement, that I undervalue the confirmation, afforded by the Apocalypse, of doctrines previously revealed, or the precise instruction of ch. 20 as to the 1000 years' continuance of Christ's reign. That against which I protest is the representation that this passage is the seat instead of a seat of the doctrine in debate.
It was with sincere pleasure that. I found, on pages 40-54, the distinct recognition on your part of an approaching crisis, “when God will take the cup of trembling out of the hand of the Jew, and put it into the hand of the Gentiles that afflicted him.” You say, “Whether we turn to the old or to the New Testament, we read of a time (immediately preceding the triumph of the gospel) of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time,” “We have repeated intimations in Scripture,” you say, “of a grand crisis, a final and decisive controversy, a day of retributive judgment upon nations, which have put the last insult upon his truth.” You quote the passages, “I have trodden the wine-press alone,” &c.; “For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.” “It consists,” you observe, “of judgments, unlike preceding ones, by which 'the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.'“ You speak of it as “connected in many places with the fall of Babylon, almost everywhere characterized by surprising rapidity, and accompanied by a prophecy of the restoration of Israel; so much so, that these events have been always apprehended to be synchronous.” You add a serious of quotations from Isa. 13; 14:24-27., 34; Jer. 23; 25:1, 51; Ezek. 36; 39 Joel 3; Mic. 4; 5; Zeph. 3:8, 9; Hag. 2; and Zech. 1:15-21; 12:2, and 14.
It was not from Rev. 20 that I received pre-millennial views, however confirmatory of those views that chapter may since have proved. It was from the many passages which treat of that solemn crisis, your expectation of which is so forcibly expressed in the above quotations. I found links of connection between these and many New Testament passages, which left no doubt on my mind that not only do Israel's restoration, judgment on the Gentiles, and the universal triumph of truth and righteousness, synchronize with each other, but that the synchronism includes another event, the most central and majestic of all—the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ himself. In proof of this, allow me to call your attention to one or two of the passages you quote, along with the connected passages in the later volume of inspiration.
One passage to which you refer is that in Daniel's prophecy, in which he predicts a “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time.” Happily, I have no need to prove to you that this does not refer to the time of Israel's overthrow and Jerusalem's destruction by Titus, but to the yet future though rapidly approaching time of Israel's deliverance and restoration. This you believe and maintain. In quoting Daniel's words you insert an explanatory clause, which shows decisively that you regard as future the time of unequaled trouble which he foretells. “A time (immediately preceding the triumph of the gospel) of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time,” is the form in which you quote the passage. Turn then, my dear sir, to Matt. 23; 24, and what do you find? At the close of the former, our Lord, crossing for the last time the threshold of the temple, says to the blinded and infuriated nation, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Then follows the conversation between him and his disciples in which, he having foretold the destruction of the temple and its buildings, and they having asked him, “When shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age” (αἰῶνος)? he delivers to them the majestic prophecy, in which he certainly answers the two latter questions, whether the first be answered by him or not. It is in this discourse he quotes Daniel's words, adding to them what still further distinguishes the epoch in question from all others: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not from the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Such is to be the extremity of distress, that those days are, for the elect's sake, to be shortened: else “there should no flesh be saved.” But while Daniel connects this tremendous crisis with the deliverance of his people, our Lord connects it also with a more solemn event. “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together. IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TRIBULATION OF THOSE DAYS shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” I am not ignorant of the efforts made to show that this is not a real personal coming of Christ, but only a figure of his interposition in providence at the destruction of Jerusalem 1800 years ago. With you I need make no reply to this interpretation; as you quote the prediction of the time of unequaled trouble as one yet to be fulfilled. And if it be not a personal coming which our Lord's words denote, I know of no language by which such an event could be described. And when we bear in mind the declaration which gave rise to the whole discourse, “Ye shall not see me henceforth till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord,” I see not how the conclusion can be resisted that, in ch. 24:27-31, our Lord predicts the circumstances under which repentant Israel will see him again—see him as truly and personally as when their impenitent forefathers saw him cross the threshold of that house which was “desolate” indeed when his presence was withdrawn.
Isa. 24-27 is another Scripture from which you quote in reference to the solemn crisis which you regard (justly, I believe) as at hand. It is indeed an impressive testimony to those judgments, “by which,” as you observe, “the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” But it is in the midst of this prophecy, connected both with the judgments to be executed and the blessedness to ensue, that we find the words quoted by the apostle in 1 Cor. 15:54, quoted there by him with the most precise declaration of the epoch at which, and the event in which, they are to find their fulfillment. “So WHEN this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, THEN shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” To speak of Rev. 20 as being the only or the principal passage which treats of a pre-millennial resurrection at Christ's coming, is surely to overlook his divinely-inspired comment of the apostle on the saying recorded by Isaiah. Seeing that the Holy Ghost has deigned to tell us in the New Testament when a certain prediction of the Old shall be accomplished, is it not boldness approaching to temerity to insist on interposing a thousand years between the event foretold and the moment indicated for its accomplishment?
Isa. 59:18, 19, is a remarkable prediction of the crisis you anticipate. “According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompense. So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” Here we have the judgments, the outpouring of the Spirit, and the universal prevalence of piety which is to follow. But are these the whole of the events predicted in the passage? No; the next words are, “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.” These are the words quoted by the apostle in Rom. 11, where, predicting Israel's future conversion, he says, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” Should the variation between the passage in Isaiah and the quotation in Romans be insisted upon, it seems to me that either way the doctrine of the pre-millennial coming of Christ is established. If the Old Testament version be received, that coming is foretold; if that in the New Testament be preferred, it declares the presence of the Deliverer at the epoch in question, and thus presupposes his coming.
(To be continued.)

The Millenarian Question: Part 2

Both from Isaiah and from Joel you quote the passages which treat of the harvest and the vintage. I need not insert these quotations here. But who can fail to note their connection with “the harvest” in Matt. 13, which our Lord declares to be “the end of the age” —the harvest and vintage in Rev. 14, where “he that sat on the cloud (like unto the Son of man) thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped;” while “the winepress trodden without the city” is said, in Rev. 14:15, to be trodden by the One who comes forth from heaven, followed by “the armies which were in heaven,” to his victory over the beast, the false prophet, and their armies. On this coming and victory there follows, as foretold in the much-controverted chapter 20, the reign of the saints with Christ. To your remarks on this, I now turn.
Your first observation is, that in the Apocalypse “life and death, and rising from the dead, stand for the enjoyment, the loss, and the recovery of corporate or political existence and power.” It is thus you interpret ch. 11 and other portions of the book; and you infer that these words are to be so understood in ch. 20. But with whatever weight this argument may apply to numerous pre-millenarian expositors of the Revelation, you are not unaware that there are those who look for the fulfillment of ch. 11. in the sackcloth testimony, martyr-death, and triumphant resurrection of two individual men, yet to appear on God's behalf in the crisis which is probably at hand. And should it even be conceded that the terms life, death, and resurrection, are in some parts of the Apocalypse used figuratively, it would not follow that they are to be so understood throughout the book. Much less can it be justly inferred from such premises that these terms are to be understood figuratively in passages of ch. 20, which certainly seem to be literal explanations of the symbolic scenes which the Prophet of Patmos beheld. “This is the first resurrection,” and, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years,” for no part of John's description of the vision which he beheld, but would appear to be a literal statement of what that division was designed to represent. So that if life, and death, and living again, were to be understood figuratively in John's statement of what he saw, it would by no means follow that they are to be understood thus in his explanatory statements; and it is in these that the proof of the doctrine of a pre-millennial resurrection of the saints is found.
You say “There is a very obvious reason for the distinctive epithet first, in the first resurrection which the world is to witness.” It is, that “as the resurrection of an individual saint at the last day is, as it were, seminally contained in his spiritual life, in his being quickened in time; so it is with regard to the entire mass.” “They have their part,” you observe, “in the mystical body of Christ, which, when triumphant in every part of the world, has that triumph denominated by a resurrection, not of this or of that people, but generally by a first resurrection.”
But if this be so, how can “the rest of the dead” consist, as you represent, of “the rest of the wicked, slain as a party, having no corporate, acknowledged existence” till Satan is loosed, when “they do live” again, in Gog and Magog's rebellion? Let the prophecy be understood as treating of a literal, bodily resurrection, and the language is intelligible and appropriate. Righteous and wicked are both alike dead in the sense of bodily dissolution; and it might, therefore, with the utmost propriety be said, after naming the resurrection of the saints, “the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” Both form one aggregate of dead ones, of which part after the abstraction of another part, can properly be termed “the rest of the dead.” But if the risen and reigning martyrs do but represent the triumph and ascendancy of the church during the 1000 years, and the resurrection of “the dead” the revival of wickedness at the close of that period, with what propriety, either as to language or facts, could this phrase, “the rest of the dead,” be so used? As to language, I say: for surely the pre-millennial non-existence of the righteous as a party, and the millennial non-existence of the wicked as such, cannot make the two at any time appear, as one aggregate of dead ones, of which it could be said, that part of the dead rise, and “the rest of the dead” rise not again for 1000 years. The very idea carries absurdity on the face of it. Then the phrase is just as inappropriate as to facts. Do you really mean that prior to the millennium, truth and righteousness are to be so extinguished from amongst men, that the saints, “as a party,” have no “corporate acknowledged existence?” If not, from what state of death do they emerge, rendering it in any sense proper to term the millennially non-existent wicked party “the rest of the dead"? No; the attempt to set aside the literal import of the words, “first resurrection” and “rest of the dead,” involves all who make it in difficulties and confusion, with which the alleged difficulties of premillennialism bear no comparison whatever.

The Millenarian Question: Part 3

It seems to me that you greatly overrate the magnitude of the post-millennial rebellion, when you say “an extent of territory and a number of subjects is here ascribed to Satan such as the beast and the false prophet never had.” The words of scripture are, that Satan “shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breath of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” No doubt it is a solemn defection from Christ which is thus depicted—an awful proof that unregenerate man, with every possible advantage, is powerless to withstand the enemy when he is let loose. But his going forth “to gather,” would not necessarily imply that he succeeds in gathering all; and the expression “as the sand of the sea” is, as we all know, applied in the Old Testament to Israel, and does not, therefore, necessarily denote such an unprecedently overwhelming multitude as you represent. But be this as it may, what ground there can be for speaking of “millions upon millions of close hypocrites, mixed up with the company of the truly converted” during the millennium, I am at a lose to conceive. Forty or fifty years would be “a little season” compared with a “thousand;” and supposing that none were deceived by Satan, but those who were born after he was loosed, and who grew up without being converted, it is easy to realize how this part of the prophecy might be fulfilled. And if Satan could triumph over our first parents, when as yet their nature was untainted, what difficulty is there as to his permitted success with those who, confessedly, have the same need of regeneration as ourselves?
The objections as to the camp of the saints and the beloved city being besieged—as though the inmates of that camp and city were the glorified saints have been so often answered, that I will not repeat here what has thus been urged. It is easier to call such answers “castle-building,” &c., than to present the slightest proof of our maintaining, or being under any necessity to maintain, that the occupants of the beloved city are any other than Israel after the flesh, dwelling in their own city Jerusalem. What more of inconsistency can there be in the idea of an attack by mortal foes on such a city and its mortal inhabitants, even though its name be “Jehovah Shammah,” than in the thought of any similar attack in days gone by? Then, besides, the assault is an unsuccessful one; the enemies are permitted to come up; but it is to their own sudden and overwhelming and eternal overthrow.
You say, “the evangelist saw thrones, the symbols of honor and power; not one of them is specified as the throne of Christ. He is not here placed in front, nor as the principal figure, but named as an adjunct at the doze of the verse, they lived and reigned with Christ. “I saw thrones and they sat on them; they sat on them. Could it be the mind of the Spirit to point out, in such a form, the great coming of the Judge of all the earth, literally to fix His throne, with those of glorified saints, amongst or above all the potentates of the earth?” “What would we think,” you inquire, “of the coming, the installment, &c., of an earthly prince, related after the following fashion I saw chariots, and persons seated in them, and great honor was paid to them; they entered the city and the palace; they took their seats and were installed in their high and honorable offices with the prince?”
I have quoted thus largely that I may not be supposed to do injustice to your argument, which has, at first sight, some appearance of strength. This appearance vanishes, however, on a moment's reflection. No one maintains that “the coming of the Judge of the earth” is pointed out in this vision of the millennial thrones and their occupants. All who regard this vision as depicting the personal reign of Christ and His saints, see the prediction of his coming in the latter part of chap. 19; and no one can allege that in the vision there portrayed, the central, conspicuous, and all-commanding place is not occupied by our Lord Himself. I am not at this moment discussing the import of the vision, or whether it be a personal coming of Christ that it sets forth. This you would, of course, dispute. But, in examining the views you controvert, fairness requires that you consider them as a whole. If those on whose tenets you remark see the coming of Christ in chap. 19, and His reign with His saints in chap. 20 it will never do to ignore their use of the former chapter, and assume that, in their view, the latter presents a theme which they believe the former alone to handle.
And if, as all millenarians insist, the coming is treated of in chap. 19, and the reign in chap. 20, what is there surprising in the fact that, the descent from heaven of the Lord Jesus Christ in pomp and majesty having been foretold, the saints being mentioned as mere attendants of His train, they should, in the description that follows, be mentioned first, as partaking of the glories of His reign? It is only by the arbitrary and unwarranted severance of the chapters, that this argument has show of plausibility or strength.
But you urge that the same remark applies, and with still greater force, to Dan. 7. In it, you say, we have both prophecy and interpretation. The prophet sees in vision “the Ancient of days” —God the Father. He beholds “one like unto the Son of man,” and he “came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.” To him, thus brought into the presence of the Ancient of days, all nations are rendered subject. “In the interpretation” of this vision, you say, “we have not so much as a hint of a personal coming of the Son of God to destroy Antichrist: but on the contrary, what forms a powerful argument against it.” “In the symbolic part of the chapter everything is consigned over to him. In the interpretative part, what we have as the effect of transactions taking place in the invisible world is simply this, the kingdoms shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whom all dominions shall serve and obey.”
In reply to this well put argument, I would, first of all, freely admit, that no coming of Christ to the earth is expressly treated of in Dan. 7 That is, no one could gather from that chapter alone, that the final and universal kingdom would be introduced by the coming of the Son of man to the earth. I lay stress on these words to the earth, for there is a coming treated of, but it is, as you urge, “to the Ancient of days.” But though the chapter itself does not expressly teach the coming of Christ to this earth, there is an expression used as to His coming to the Ancient of days, which, when viewed in connection with numerous quotations of it, and allusions to it, in other parts of scripture, makes it sufficiently evident, that a coming of Christ to the earth is to take place at the crisis of which this chapter treats. “I saw in the night visions, and behold one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Let it be remembered, then, that, when Daniel wrote, Jesus of Nazareth had not come in humiliation, nor was it as yet revealed that he was the “one like unto the Son of man.” But there can be no doubt that this title “Son of man” was appropriated by our adorable Lord, and in His lips the phrase “came with the clouds of heaven” received a significance and application, which could scarcely have been inferred from the mere language of the prophecy itself. “And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.” (Matt. 24:30.) They shall see! True, that in Dan. 7, the coming of the Son of man to the Ancient of days might seem to be “a transaction taking place in the invisible world.” But in our Lord's quotation of its phraseology, we find that there are to be human spectators, either of this transaction, or of its immediate result. The tribes of the earth are to see the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven. Equally emphatic is our Lord's allusion to this prophecy when before Caiaphas. Adjured by the living God to say whether he was the Christ, the Son of God, the meek and holy Sufferer replies, “Thou hast said; nevertheless I say unto you, hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” (Matt. 26:64.)
Do we object, then, to listen to the angelic interpretation to Daniel, of the vision he had beheld? By no means. We only object to the understanding it in such a sense as to set aside the interpretation of it by a greater than the angel—by the Son of man Himself.
Should it still be asked why there is no mention of the Son of man by the angel, but only repeated mention of “the saints of the Most High,” let the following suggestion be weighed. In Daniel's day the question of all-absorbing interest, was not so much as to the Person by whose coming the kingdom and dominion should be wrested from the hands of its Gentile possessors; but as to its transfer by the Most High from these haughty oppressors of His people, to the very saints whom they persecuted and trod under foot. Daniel was a captive; the holy people were in bondage to the Gentiles: the holy city was in their hands, to waste and to destroy; and the vision and interpretation of Dan. 7 were evidently designed to put in relief the assurance, ominous indeed to the Gentiles, but most consolatory to Jewish saints, that the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth, would, in His own time, execute judgment on the imperial power of the Gentiles, and transfer to His own down-trodden people the scepter of the whole earth.
Even this could not be made known without a revelation of the glorious One in and through whom these counsels of God are to be accomplished; and accordingly, in the vision, “in the symbolic part of the chapter,” as you say, “everything is consigned over to Him.” When the blessed Heir of these dignities was here and rejected by the people—His own earthly people, who are to hold under Him the dominion under the whole heaven—the question of His person and of His coming became the all important one; and He leaves no room for doubt, that His coming in the clouds of heaven will be visible to all; that public as was the humiliation He underwent, the insults heaped upon Him by mankind, so public shall be the display of His glory, the vindication of His outraged dignities and claims. “Behold he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” (Rev. 1:7.)
In the remarks on John 5:28, 29, Dan. 12:2, and on the subject of a premillennial resurrection of the saints as a whole, there is nothing but what has been urged and answered by almost all who have discussed the subject. If the “hour” in which the Son of God quickens dead souls has already lasted 1800 years, why should not the “hour” in which “all that are in the graves shall come forth” be of more than 1000 years duration? And why speak of a “resurrection of life” and a “resurrection of judgment,” if there be but one simultaneous resurrection of those who, after being raised, are divided into classes, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats? Why speak of the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matt. 20 v. as fulfilled in the resurrection and judgment of all mankind, when there is no mention of resurrection in the passage, and when the term employed is never used in scripture except of living nations?
It is not a gratuitous assumption, a mere begging of the question, that in Matt. 13 συντέλεια τοῦ αἰῶυός means “the end of the age,” or “present premillennial dispensation.” It is, on the contrary, a meaning of the words demonstrated to be correct, by the accustomed force of the words themselves, and by the entire scope of the divine instruction which the chapter contains. The subject of the chapter is “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” —mysteries, which have their existence and development contemporaneously with Israel's rejection of Christ, and the judicial blindness under which, in consequence, that nation lies. To suppose that these “mysteries” extend beyond the era of Israel's dispersion, and the universal triumph of truth and righteousness with which all scripture associates Israel's restoration, would be to confound things which most widely and obviously differ: and nothing can be plainer than that the transition from “mystery” to “manifestation” —from the period of patience to that of the establishment of righteousness by power—is, in this chapter, identical with the harvest, the end of the age. The millennial saints, whom you would have included in “the net,” or amongst “the wheat and tares,” evidently belong to “the age to come” —the period of manifestation and of power.
You assert that “there is no dispensation but one, that of the gospel, so long as sin and Satan exist—so long as there may be found in the world deceivable mortals exposed to signal divine visitation—so long as death, the last enemy, as well as he who had the power of death, are undestroyed.” If all you mean by this is, that all saved sinners, from Adam or Abel down to the last that shall be converted, are saved by grace, through faith, saved on the ground of Christ's atoning work, and regenerated by the Holy Ghost, most gladly do I concur in all this. But this is no warrant for denying the existence of separate dispensations. When the apostle says, “until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed where there is no law,” does he describe the same dispensation as in another passage where he says “the words spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward?” Is there no change of dispensation indicated by our Lord's words, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, that ye resist not evil,” &c.? Was the “heir differing nothing from a servant, though lord of all,” under the same dispensation as he to whom the apostle says, “Wherefore thou art no more a servant but a son: and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ!” (Gal. 4) Can it be all one and the same dispensation in which Jews and Gentiles were separated by a “middle wall of partition,” and in which, that wall having been broken down, and peace having been made by the blood of the cross, Jew and Gentile are both one in Christ? It is to differences like these, that the phrase “difference of dispensations” is applied. Call them by what names you please, who can deny their existence, or the stress laid upon them in God's word? And while the proof of this point would require more time and space than would befit my present communication, proof is not wanting of a future change of dispensation. When suffering is exchanged for triumph, Satan bound, and Christ and His saints filling the place for good which he and his angels have done for evil and misrule, surely a change of dispensation of no small magnitude will have taken place.
Christ sits, you say, “at the right hand of God till his enemies are made his footstool. He therefore sits there all through the millennium.” Not so: God's making Christ's enemies His footstool is evidently distinct from Christ's subjugation of His foes by His own power. The effect of Christ's enemies being put as a footstool under His feet is, that Zion becomes the earthly center of His power in judgment, the rod of His strength being sent out of Zion, while He rules in the midst of His enemies. Once He was crucified through weakness (2 Cor. 13:4). Now, He waits in patience, “expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.” (Heb. 10:13.) Ere long, His people shall be willing in the day of His power. (Psa. 110:3.) And He who is now at Jehovah's right hand “shall strike through kings in the day of His wrath.” (ver. 5.) “The heavens must receive him until the time of restitution of all things.” On this you remark, “from what we have seen of the nature of the millennium, there is then no restitution of all things, though great progress is made towards it. This restitution, if any where, is described in 1 Cor. 15:24— “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God,” &c. Had Peter said “whom the heaven must receive till all things have been restored,” there might have been some force in this argument; but his language was “until the times of restitution of all things;” and surely these are millennial times. How all things can be restored when the heavens and the earth flee away, and no place is found for them, it would be difficult to explain.
Having replied at large to Dr. Brown's remarks on Acts 2 and 3 (see Plain Papers, pages 448-454), I must refer you to what is there advanced as my answer to what you give on those chapters, acknowledging your obligations to Dr. B.
No one supposes that the destruction of death is premillennial; but the swallowing up death in victory is decided to be so by Isa. 25 as we have already seen. The fact is, that the whole millennial period, and the little season which succeeds, are characterized by Christ's actively subduing, by His own power, the enemies who are put as a footstool under His feet at the moment He arises from Jehovah's throne. The last of these is death, which is not destroyed till after the judgment of the great white throne.
Nor have I the least idea that the conflagration of 2 Peter 3 is pre-millennial. That “the day of the Lord,” “the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men,” includes the whole millennial period is sufficiently evident, I think, from many passages. And it is a day in the which the universal conflagration will surely take place. But Peter says nothing to decide in what part of the day, whether in its early dawn or at its close, this solemn event occurs. A comparison of his statements with Rev. 20, 21 seems to me to make it plain that it is at the very close of the day. The new heavens and the new earth of Rev. 21:1 seem to follow at once on the events foretold at the close of the previous chapter: and between these events and some of which Peter treats there is surely a close resemblance, if not absolute identity. But it is the day as a whole, with the succeeding post-millennial state, for which Peter says we wait.
No doubt, “the trump of God” (1 Thess. 4), and the “last trump” (1 Cor. 15), denote one and the same signal of the resurrection and translation of the saints at the coming of the Lord. But we have seen that the Holy Ghost authoritatively associates these events with the fulfillment of a prophecy assuredly premillennial: and unless there be mention made of the sound of a trumpet in some passage undeniably treating of post-millennial events, this declaration of the apostle ought surely to over-rule all objections founded on the expression “the last trump.”
“The expression 'the last day' simply conveys to our minds,” you observe, “the idea of the termination of time.” To this I do not know, of any sound objection. But be it remembered that for all of whom Christ says (in John 6 repeating the statement four times) “I will raise him up at the last day,” time has terminated, and it is not to another time-state—to natural life—that they are restored, but everlasting life, as to their bodies, as well as their souls. But to assume that time has therefore terminated with all mankind is certainly to beg the question, which in part at least is this, Whether, during the millennium, there be not two departments of blessedness, heaven and earth, the one bearing all the characteristics of a dispensation in time, the other eternal and without change. Scripture does testify, that it is the purpose and counsel of God in the “dispensation of the fullness of times to gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in him” (Eph. 1). Has not “Christ the first-fruits” entered personally on His eternal and unchanging state? And has He no present connections with the world and time? Why should not the harvest, of which He is “the first-fruits,” similarly enter on a state of perfect, unchanging, eternal blessedness and glory, and yet for a thousand years be ministers of light, healing, liberty, and joy, to those who are still in a mundane state?
Believing in no “millennial Adamics” different from all who bear the image of the first Adam, and need to receive, in regeneration and resurrection, the image of the second, I feel myself under no obligation to defend what may have been advanced on such a subject by others.
I know not how to understand your intimation (page 123,) that the Savior's words “this generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled” referred to the accomplishment of that entire prophecy, Matt. 24 in the destruction of Jerusalem and its attendant events. You seem so definitely to quote Daniel's prophecy of the time of unequaled trouble, repeated by our Lord in this chapter, as yet to be fulfilled in the approaching crisis of nations, that I was unprepared for such an interpretation as that now referred to. You do indeed, on this same page, speak of Christ's coming “upon the Jews, and the analogous one upon the Gentile nations, which is generally expected.” But the Savior's words are much too precise to admit of a double interpretation like this. If “this generation” meant the succession of men then living upon earth, and if our Lord thus affirmed that the men then living should not die till everything He had foretold should be accomplished, any application of His words to yet future events, is clearly out of the question. And yet it does appear to me that he must be a bold man, who would undertake to prove that all included by our Lord in “these things” was fulfilled during the life-time of His contemporaries on earth. But this is a subject too wide to enter upon here.
As to Luke 17 if the heavenly saints who are, at Christ's coming, to be caught up to meet Him, and so he forever with Him, were the only persons recognized as His people; if there were to be no Jewish saints spared throughout the unequaled tribulation; no elect for whose sakes those days are to be shortened; I could understand your argument drawn from the directions not to flee, &c. These are evidently designed for Christ's earthly Jewish disciples, the Jewish remnant in the approaching crisis, not for the Church, which at a previous stage of his descent, will have been caught up to meet Him in the air. “One of the days of the Son of man” will doubtless be the object of intense, longing desire, to that deeply tried remnant; and for a while their desire will be unfulfilled, drawing forth from them the well-known prophetic utterance, “Lord, how long?”
Millenarians do not question the sufficiency of God's word and Spirit for the conversion of any; nor do they suppose that any will be converted otherwise than by the Spirit and word of God. But God's government of the world is something entirely distinct from His gracious operations in converting souls. Souls have been converted through all the changing forms of the divine administration, in regard to the government of the world, and will, doubtless, in greater numbers than ever, be converted during the millennial age. All who will then be converted will owe their regeneration to the Holy Spirit, who will then, as now, act by the word.
But the government of the world will not be then by secret providence as it has been ever since the fall. It will not be a theocracy, administered as in Israel heretofore, by mere fallible human agents; much less will it be the imperial Gentile rule which began with the permitted overthrow of the Lord's throne at Jerusalem. It will be the reign of Christ and His heavenly saints, to whom (Satan being bound and all obstinate rebels having been destroyed) will be committed the administration of the world's government for a thousand years. Happy period! Happier still the portion of those, who, having been partakers of Christ's sufferings, shall then be the sharers of His throne, and companions of His joy.
I fear you have greatly misunderstood millenarians, if you suppose that we overlook the spiritual operation involved in Israel's conversion, or that we deem the agency of the Holy Ghost insufficient to effect it. But if there was nothing inconsistent with these foundation truths in the peculiar circumstances attending the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, why should they be thought to be impugned by those who see in scripture (or think they see) that Israel's conversion will be attended by their literally looking on Him whom they have pierced? Will the spiritual view be less efficacious because of His being revealed to their mortal gaze? That their unbelief, like that of Thomas, should demand such proof, is doubtless to their reproach. “Because thou hast seen me thou hast believed; blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed.” Such is the superior blessedness to which we have been called by sovereign grace. But how touching the grace, which in convincing Thomas and subduing Saul, by means of that which appealed to the senses, as well as to the conscience and the heart, afforded a type of the mercy yet to be extended to Israel after the flesh As to 2 Thess. 2 believing, with many others, that Antichrist is a person, the use of the word παρονσἰα, as to him, is with me no presumption against its being used personally of our Lord, in every instance of its occurrence as to Him, both in that and in the former epistle. And it does seem to me that the means used to evade the proof afforded by this chapter of Christ's personal, pre-millennial coming, are such as would not be tolerated in regard to any other book than scripture.
As I once wrote elsewhere— “Suppose a mere human author to write two treatises, the latter intended to throw further light on the subject of the former; suppose that a certain term or phrase occurs more frequently than any other in these writings, and that this phrase is always used in one fixed determinate sense; suppose that it has been thus used twelve or thirteen times without one exception, and that this is acknowledged by all who read the writings in question. There is however, a fourteenth instance in which the phrase occurs. There is no intimation on the part of the writer that he uses it in a different sense. There is nothing in the immediate context to require that it should be understood in a different sense. So far from this, it is employed in the usual sense at the commencement of the paragraph in which it again occurs in the instance supposed. What should we think of any one who would contend, in a case like this, that the phrase is to be understood in a different sense, the fourteenth time of its occurrence, from that in which it is used in all the former instances?” Now this is what you do with Paul's two epistles to the Thessalonians: and it is the only way in which you can evade the demonstration afforded by chap. 2 second epistle, of the pre-millennial personal coming of Christ.
But you urge that Antichrist is said to be “consumed by the breath of his mouth,” as well as destroyed by the brightness of His coming! But ἀναλίσκω strictly means “to take away” — “to destroy.” Liddell and Scott, though giving the sense “to use up, lavish, squander” when applied to money or substance, say “(2) of PERSONS, to kill, to destroy.” It is the word used in Luke 9:54, where the disciples inquire, if they may ask fire from heaven to consume the Samaritan villagers. Its use in 2 Thess. 2 cannot therefore be allowed as an argument for the gradual weakening of antichrist by the truth, or gospel, prior to his complete destruction by the brightness of Christ's coming. Further, “the breath, or spirit of his mouth” does not, as far as I can gather from scripture, mean “the gospel” or the “saving influences of the Spirit.” Job 4:9; 15:30; Isa. 30:28; also 33: all use the phrase of judgment on the wicked persons, not of converting influences on men's souls.
As to your closing argument from Rev. 19 that the nature of the case forbids the thought of mortal men turning their puny weapons against the Lord, personally revealed from heaven, I answer: First, that it is impossible to say to what amount of hardihood human wickedness, inspired to madness by Satan's utmost power, may extend. Think of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. If after the ten plagues, and the miracle of one person dead in every house of the Egyptians, while not one of the blood-sheltered Israelites fell: if after all this, and the equally miraculous opening of the Red Sea to let the redeemed hosts pass through, they could and did, and that too, in the face of time pillar of cloud and fire, pursue Israel into the bed of the Red Sea, there to meet a watery grave, it is hard to say what human wickedness may not attempt. But, secondly, it is a purely gratuitous assumption, that the heavenly and earthly armies are arrayed in each other's sight, like two mere human hosts; or that the beast, false prophet, and their armies see anything of Christ and His heavenly followers, till the moment they are smitten with destruction by the overwhelming apparition. They are “gathered together to make war against his army;” but surely this language does not imply that they do or that they can carry out their intent after He and His army appear. Was not Saul of Tarsus fighting against Christ—kicking against the pricks—albeit he had not seen Him, and could not bear to behold Him when He appeared? It was in mercy that Christ appeared to him, though even thus he was smitten to the ground, and blinded for three days. It will be in judgment that He appears to the anti-Christian confederacy, the heads of which will be cast alive into the lake of fire, while their followers are slain, not converted, by the sword of Him that sat upon the horse.
From the Old Testament I have no doubt that it is against Christ, in His connection with Israel and the holy land, that the anti-Christian forces will be gathered.
It will assuredly he in ignorance of what awaits them, that for their own purposes of ambition and hatred to God, they will have Assembled there. “Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel; FOR HE SHALL GATHER THEM AS THE SHEAVES INTO HIS FLOOR” (Mic. 4:11, 12). True, that in the prophet, the daughter of Zion is exhorted to “arise and thresh,” and Israel will, doubtless, be used as executioners of the divine vengeance; but the Apocalypse shows, as well as certain Old Testament passages, as Zech. 14, Isa. 66, &c., that the overthrow of the ungodly confederacy will, first of all, be by the sudden, unlooked for, descent of Christ and His heavenly hosts.
Excuse, my dear Sir, this hasty sketch, and believe me, with sincere Christian regards.

The Mind of Christ: 1 Cor. 2

The mind of Christ is what belongs to the saint as a new man. The Spirit of God first quickened, and now he has the mind of Christ, to mind the things above, as quickened out of the system of this world. He has the intelligence of Christ, through the Holy Ghost and the word. It is the communicated mind of God as it has formed itself in His purposes of Christ.
When taught of God, we shall find proportion in truth; it will find its place. Where this is not the case, persons will overstate or wrongly apply truth, and find it will not tell. Then, in place of judging themselves, they will judge the truth, and make no progress.
Error in judgment is connected with wrongness of affection. When the man in the parable said, “I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them; I pray thee have me excused,” it was as much as to say, I prefer oxen to the supper. If a person says, I cannot see, then his eye is not single; he cannot justify himself before God. “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” Whenever we walk in conscience before God, we shall find our path simple: having the mind of Christ, things are as clear as day.
We have in Acts 13 an instance of the ability of applying scripture, with the mind of Christ, to the circumstances in which they were. “Paul and Barnabas waxed bold and said, it was necessary,” &c. In this scripture we do not find positive particular command to Paul or Barnabas; but as having the mind of Christ, they could find command there and say, “for so hath the Lord commanded us"... The apostle found his place with Jesus. (See Isa. 49:6)

A Few Words on Modern Criticism

In almost all the critical works of our times, we find a deep-seated deadness of the mind to the real essential character of the divine word; a blindness which is incapable of seeing the spiritual and heavenly character of scripture. It is only by remembering this sad fact, that one can comprehend how it was possible for criticism to subject the text to such cruel tortures: only thus one can account for the cool indifference with which such indignities to God's word are regarded, even where they are not received. And this spiritual disorder arises simply from the fact, that the fundamental relations of the heart to God and divine things are not right; that there is wanting fear and reverence before His majesty, not to speak of confidence in His love; that light and darkness are not really distinguished, and carefully kept separate (Isa. 66:2). From olden times it has been thought a heinous crime to remove landmarks; but it is the boast of our day to blot out the holiest of all boundary-lines, that between truth and error. Man—Satan—invents something intermediate, and is applauded for boldness and originality of thought. Our fathers knew well what they said when they maintained that the testimony of the Holy Spirit was the worst canon of Bible criticism. He who emancipates himself from this subjection of the conscience to the word of God, is an unbiblical critic. Let us not sever, on any point, knowledge and the conscience; let us give way to no sophisms, however specious, but adhere in theological questions of all kinds to moral bearings and connections. This is, above all, an imperative obligation in the case of those sacred writers to whom we are indebted for all the revealed light we possess, and of whom we find throughout, that their sense of God's authority and truth was strong and delicate in a most eminent degree (1 Tim. 2:7; John 19:35; 2 Pet. 1:16). It is by no means narrow-minded to proceed from such a starting point; it is inward liberty from the thralldom of human willfulness; it is natural, sound, unsophisticated sense, which alone leads us to a right, holy, and thorough understanding of the truth. Men have lost faith in the supernatural, not because they have gained, but chiefly because they have lost knowledge of nature, no less than of what is above nature.
Modern theology deeply needs to be reminded of that word, “God made man upright, but he sought out many inventions.” I know from my own experience, in which I was not spared the passing through the furnace of criticism, that it is the simple foundation truths, to which our conscience bears witness, that form the decisive and all-pervading element, and that they are able to refute the dazzling deductions of a science which refuses to place itself in the light of God's all-righteous countenance. In a time like ours, when the gospel, not only in its links with the mysteries of Christ, but even in its most simple and essential elements, is foolishness to the Greeks, yea, to the noblest among them, it is of paramount importance to be faithful in these first principles, which, however insignificant they may appear, are the foundation of all the rest.
IGNOTUS.

Modern Hegelianism Compared With Brahminism

“Upwards of thirty years ago a professor in one of the German universities taught a new philosophical system, which was greatly admired, and considered to exhibit most astonishing progress in the development of the human mind—and what is it? Nothing more or less than the most common Brahminism, as it has existed here in India for upwards of 2000 years. I shall briefly mention the three chief points of this system.
“Hegel and his disciples, of which Strauss is one, say: God Almighty, the Creator, must reveal Himself, go out of life—being the subject, become His object. They say, this world is the personification of God, His second Person, and there is no other revelation. The creation of the world out of nothing we believe, they say; but it must be rightly understood. Nothing is not nothing; nothing means that which was nothing, namely, God, before His manifestation or effusion in the world. What do the Hindus reason in regard to the same subject? They speculate on the nature of God: whether He is nothing, or everything; whether He is gunman or nirgun; with qualities or attributes, or without; whether He can reveal Himself, or not. The Brahmins and Hindus know no other God but the world. A transcendental, pure, and holy God they can form no notion of.
“Again, Hegel and Strauss assert that everything which is reasonable—is as it ought to be. This is exactly what the Hindus argue, and this leads them to the second conclusion, namely, that there is no sin nor guilt, no accountableness, no personal responsibility. What men call sin is regarded only as a step to further development and greater improvement. All that is done is done by God: how, then, can there be sin or guilt? What an awful delusion is this! Look to the life the Hindus lead: no truthfulness, no gratitude, no chastity, no purity, a total abandonment to all vice and crime, no family life—and where there is no family tie, there can be no happiness, no blessing anywhere. How clever and cunning are the natives in all that concerns their own interests, in all worldly affairs and temporal matters; but how perverted and blind in all spiritual things, in all that concerns their immortal soul! The consequences of the Hegelian philosophy, where it has penetrated the mass of the people, have been just as fearful and baneful.
“The third point in which this modern philosophy coincides with Hinduism, is the distinct denial of a personal existence after death. What an arrogance, what a selfishness and pride of men, they exclaim, of worms of the dust, to claim a personal existence after death! As one drop of water loses its separate existence when falling into the ocean, so man, when dying, loses his personality in God, And what is the consequence of such a system of Pantheism? The complete degradation, the extreme ignorance and excessive misery of the lower classes of Germany, only lately brought to light by the efforts of the Home Mission, are more or less the consequences of a godless education, and of practical Pantheism..., Yea, the disciples of Hegel go even so far as to say, that Christianity has brought extreme woe over mankind, by oppressing the flesh, and that they desire to reinstate it in its rights! ‘Woe unto them,' the Bible says, ‘that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.' Fearful in the extreme are the consequences of such a system, openly taught and widely spread. The fruits are described by the apostle Paul, in the latter part of the first chapter of his Epistle to the Romans. Are we wrong, are we too severe, when we call such a system diabolical, satanical? Education, without Christian principles and opposed to the Bible, cannot but do incalculable injury and great harm. The natives in this country, without education, are little elevated above animal existence. Train them up in all arts and sciences, products of [mind and taste] without giving them the Bible, the word of God, without implanting Christian principles, and you will train them to be enemies of God and man. The Hegelian philosophy shows us that the human mind under the most favorable circumstances, under the highest mental training and culture, when not influenced by the word [and Spirit of God, cannot advance a step towards obtaining truth, but must fall into the most dangerous errors, which again lead to a most immoral life and to vicious practices.” (Cited, with omissions, from Dr. Prochnow, in News of the Churches.)

Not to Company

V. 1 Cor. 5:9, 10. J. D. raises a question as to the accuracy of the English Bible in rendering ού τάντωs “not altogether.” He inquires whether the words are not rather to be viewed as emphatically negativing any companionship or intercourse with the worldly characters which are afterward enumerated, and whether verse 11 is not a supplement, regarding professed Christian brethren, who are to be yet more stringently dealt with. The best versions, ancient, and modern, which are accessible to me, (including the Syriac, Vulgate, Beza, Luther, De Wette, the Elberfeld, the Dutch, Diodati, Ostervald, the Lausanne, &c.,) appear to give the same sense as the authorized V., which, in my opinion, necessarily flows from the last clause of the verse. For what is ἐπεὶ ὀφείλετε ἄρα ἐκ τοῦ ἐξελθεὶν, but a proof of the futility of an absolute avoidance of worldly bad men?— “for then ye must needs go out of the world.” The apostle proceeds to show that the command not to keep company refers to communion in any way with guilty brethren so-called.

Notes Du Nouveau Testament: Review

1. Notes présentant des aperçus sur quelques e'pîtres du Nouveau Testament. Première livraison comprenant les épîtres aux Romains, aux Philippiens, et aux Colossiens.. (k Pau, rue St. Jacques, chez Lauga).
These notes, of less than 100 pages, 12mo., it is said in the introduction, were compiled from the MS. results of a meeting of Christian brethren at Vigan, in May, 1856. They are rather incomplete, as they were not taken with a view to publication. Nevertheless, many of our readers would peruse them with deserved interest. Take the opening as a sample. “To unfold the grace in virtue of which God accepts sinful man and places him, by his justification, in everlasting blessing; to show in this grace the wisdom and the acts whereby God magnifies His righteousness, His love, and all His perfections: such is the subject of Paul's Epistle to the Romans. As distinguished from the other epistles this takes man as a starting point. After an introduction, in which the gospel is seen to proceed from the grace of God (for without grace nothing exists), Paul enters on the question of man, and begins by considering his state under sin, before opening out the riches of God's love and of redemption by Jesus Christ. The epistle then is occupied with man, viewing him as an individual. The mystery of the Church, revealed in other epistles, offers doubtless very great interest; but the doctrine which looks at man or the Christian in his individual capacity, is of no less importance: it has its place in the truths of God. If the introduction (chap. 1:1-17) and the salutations which close the epistle (chap. 16) he omitted, the rest may be divided into three parts. In the first it presents the development of the means by which man can be introduced into the presence of God (chap. 1-8). In the second, it reconciles the exclusive promises made to Abraham with the leveling of all, Jews and Gentiles, established in the first portion (chap. 9-11). In the third, it terminates with exhortations and practical directions (chap. 12-16) The details which follow will put in a clearer light these first data” (pp. 1 2). Other remarks of a detailed nature are given, much valuable as exposition, with happy touches for the heart and somewhat for the conscience.

Notes of the Month: Charges Against Mr. Davidson

A circular letter has been issued by the Committee of the Lancashire Independent College, on the charges brought against Mark Davidson's contribution to the last edition of Horne's Introduction. It is a feeble and faithless production, fully justifying the fears which godly men outside the Congregational body could not but feel, when they noticed the insensibility to the glory of Christ which the Rivulet Controversy brought to light. For it soon became a question, not of Mr. Lynch, but of the London dissenting chiefs. Naturally they did and said what they could to convince others of their soundness in the faith. Letters, pamphlets, books, appeared by one or other of the fifteen, intended to convey strong impressions of their own orthodoxy. But no such effort has done away with the plain and utterly condemning fact, that they endorse, as Christian, and as in the main sound, a writer and writings which undermine nearly all the foundation truths of revelation. Altogether akin, and proving that the provinces are tainted, as well as the metropolis, is the Committee's judgment of Dr. D. It admits a number of petty faults, as hasty, incautious, inaccurate, and contradictory statements; it pleads the variety, peculiarity, and difficulty of his task; it urges that while many passages, taken by themselves, seem to indicate unsatisfactory views, others, and especially the author's oral explanations, fully satisfied his examiners that he holds all the vital truths impugned, and that he maintains the inspiration of the Bible! They characterize it as a “noble work,” throughout manifesting reverence for the authority of scripture. The result is an unanimous vote of continued confidence in Dr. D.'s theological views generally, with a request for published explanations, as soon and as kindly as a due regard to the case and his own position will allow; and this, in the face of the fact that both his colleagues have disclaimed his part of their joint-work with horror, and that his very publishers have felt it needful to deal with it as unworthy of confidence! Such an opinion from the Committee is to us a graver symptom than Dr. D.'s book.

Notes on Scripture: 1. Communion of Abraham With God

It is lovely enough to see God's ways of grace and condescension. He could come down to talk with Abraham, to eat with him. But for us it is another thing: we are called upon to feed on Christ Himself, “the bread of God that came down from heaven.”
“Promises end in myself; they minister to my need As thy day, so shall thy strength be.” This is most sweet and precious, and we feel the need of such a promise; but when we look at all these promises, we think of what we get for ourselves, and then our horizon is limited by what we need. In Gen. 15 God says to Abraham, “I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward.” The word “thy” would bring in the thought of self and of his need; it was what God was for Abraham, as One who could meet all his need: but in chap. 17, it is what He is Himself. The effect of God's revealing Himself to Abraham as his shield and his exceeding great reward was, that Abraham at once turns to the thought of his own need, and says, “Lord God, what wilt thou give me?” But directly God reveals Himself (Gen. 17), Abraham falls on his face, and God talks with him. It produces a closer, holier character of communion. And then, too, Abraham is not asking, “what wilt thou give me?” but he is able to intercede for others—he is taken out of himself It is sweet to get back to what it was at first, and to see God able, as it were, to come down to the tent door in the heat of the day. God came in the cool of the day to Paradise (Gen. 3) but it was in vain, as far as communion was concerned—Adam hid himself away. There should be a going of the soul to God, in a far more intimate way than to any one else. Communion with saints is precious; but I must have intimacy of communion with God above all; and communion of saints will flow from communion with God. Then the soul, getting into this wonderful place of communion with God, takes His likeness. “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory.” While there is dependence upon God learned by need, still there is a deeper thing, a forming into the image of God by the soul's getting near to Him, and finding its delight in Him. This was, in a sense, true of Christ Himself. The ways of the Father were reproduced in His ways down here, through the communion which He had with Him.
There were two things in the way in which God revealed Himself in chap. 17. First, there is the outspreading of grace to the Gentiles— “thou shalt be a father of many nations;” because if He is the Almighty God He could not be cooped, if we may so say, in Israel. The second thing is, I will be a God “unto thee, and unto thy seed after thee;” —that is, more intimacy of communion, immediate relationship with God Himself. The nearer we get to Christ, the more shall we enter into this.
Wherever the heart was cast upon what GOD was in Himself, He must go beyond Israel: this title over-reached all the barriers. It is not the law, but in contrast with it—circumcision and promise without condition; though along with it, Abraham has principles made obligatory on him and his seed, which express the character of such as enjoy God's promises. (Compare John 7:22, and Rom. 4:10-13.) Circumcision set forth the mortification of the flesh; but this, not as a legal binding, though peremptorily enjoined as a confession of what man is, whatever may be the grace of God. In fact, nothing so condemns the flesh as that grace. As a matter of daily life, I am brought to trust in God Himself as the sole spring and source of all my blessing and strength. God revealed Himself to Abraham, and then said, “walk before me and be thou perfect.” “Here is what I am: now that is what you are to be in answer to me.” We see what a blessed thing it is to be loved of God. We have got God Himself in Christ, and that is our eternal life. When we see Christ walking through this world, our souls are attracted by the loveliness of all His ways; they delight in and admire all that we see, and get their life and happiness there. “Be ye imitators of God, as dear children.” As a child of God, I have got God's family likeness.
We do want promises; they are most precious, as meeting our need. But God's revelation of Himself is a creative power, which renews me into His own image. “I am thy shield;” —then Abraham's heart turns upon himself, and therefore he says, “Lord, God, what wilt thou give me?” God puts Himself forward as able to answer Abraham's wants, and then Abraham comes out with his wants. That is most beautiful and precious. It is what we have in 1 Chron. 17:24. David wished that the God of Israel should be all that God could be to Israel. In 2 Cor. 6:18, we get the two names by which God had made Himself known, Shaddi and Jehovah: but now that the Son has come, He takes the place of Father. He who was “the Almighty” to the patriarchs, and “the Eternal” to Moses and the people, will now be a Father to them.
Gen. 15 accordingly ends with the earth. (See verses 13-21.) It is the promise to Israel, in connection with the land—hence speaks of their suffering in Egypt, and of their deliverance by the divine judgment of their oppressors.
It is an astonishing favor that God should thus come down and put Himself at our disposal. He binds Himself to Abraham by covenant, by death. We get the same principle in Phil. 4, “My God shall supply all your need:” that is most sweet. Then Paul can say, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” But still the thought here is of need, and of the power of God to supply it all. Joy in God is communion, and a deeper thing. Presenting a want to God (as in Gen. 15) is not communion. “God talked with Abraham,” “his friend,” —that is communion. What a different idea we are apt to have of God! Communion with God is the retiring place of the heart. It is essential for a soul to be brought into perfect confidence in God Himself, in order to a walk with God.
Promise always comes before law, and raises no question of righteousness at all. There was no question raised here as to the fitness of Abraham. Law does raise the question of righteousness, and God therein assumes the character of a judge. But now, under grace, it is even more than promise. “We are made the righteousness of God in Christ.” Here, then, is an object worthy of God to delight in, and I bask in the sunshine. God looks at me just as He looks at Jesus.
Paul had seen Christ in glory—the pattern-man in heaven; and therefore he, as it were, says, “I cannot rest till I am that.” “The power of his resurrection” (Phil. 3) means, that no difficulties can stand in the way, because Christ has been raised from the dead. Everywhere and in all things the power of God to meet all need abounded. But afterward (Phil. 4) we come to “his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Just as in Gen. 17)
If I am risen with Christ, and am walking in the power of His resurrection, what is all the world to me? Paul would not merely not have his sins, but he would not have his own righteousness; he was raised clean out of everything that he had valued as a man and as a Jew. This we have to learn often in the midst of failure, and in the details of every day life. In principle the Christian is dead to all here, and has got a new life altogether. Christ never had a motive that this earth suggested; He walked through this world with divine motives. The thing in which the disciples were following Christ so tremblingly is what the apostle says he wants to have—viz., “to know the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” He does not count himself to have apprehended, nor to have attained, till he gets to resurrection. He goes on getting more and more; but he has not got it in full till the resurrection. Just as we may imagine a lamp before us at the end of a straight path; we get more and more of the light as we go along the road, but not the lamp itself till we get to it. But the Christ that we get then is the Christ that we have got already.
It is well that there is a nature given to us independent of its development; there is such a poor display of it in our ways before men; there is not the “bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.”
How wonderful for a man in prison like Paul to say, “he can do everything!” Many have triumphed in prison through God's grace, but still had a feeling as if they were shut out from service, and chastening was come upon them. Paul's being in prison may have been in some sense a chastening; but in his case the chastening came, to use a homely phrase, upon good stuff—upon a man with a single eye; and so it only purged away dross, and made him see clearer.

Notes on Scripture: 10. John 17:14

There are two great and evident consequences resulting from the place in which Christ has set us: one as looking towards the Father, the other as looking towards the world.
The first grand truth on which all is based, is, that He places us in the same condition, and where He Himself is. When the Lord Jesus was down here, He presented a double aspect, one towards the Father, and one towards the world: and just so is it with the saints now. What is true of Jesus is true also of those who believe in Him—His joy being fulfilled in them. He was a perfect witness for the Father, and the testimony of the saint in the world is for Him also (ver. 18.). The first part of this chapter shows the position of the saint before the Father, the end of it the saint's position towards the world. A blessed and wonderful thing it is, that the saints are brought by grace into the same place and position as Himself. He by right and title had it, we, by virtue of His imputed righteousness. It is testimony to the value of the redemption of Christ, and we cannot value it too highly. This exalts us not in a fleshly manner, but in the efficacy of what Christ wrought in resurrection. His disciples addressed John 20; 17— “My Father and your Father.” If I think of the state of my conscience before God, I remember God as a judge. I love the Lord Jesus Christ when I believe something about the value of the blood; but if I love the things of Christ, I soon find much in me that is not like Christ; and if there is uprightness of heart, it is a great deal easier to get at ease as to that which is past, than it is for what is at present going on. What I find in myself Now, is that which troubles me, and the conscience must get peace about this, because the affections are renewed. Even as regards the details of my conscience, as a saint, I have a holy conscience judging itself before God; so, the more unhappy a quickened conscience will be, till it is set at rest; for God is holy, the soul is sinful, and the Father sees sin. What does God do when coming in judgment? He put the blood on the door of the Israelite, and that being under this eye, the destroying angel cannot come in; he only sees the blood and passes over; he beholds the witness of the sin put away by the death of the Lamb. There is rest for the conscience by the blood. So sentence on evil has been brought in on God's part already. What meets His eye is the blood; a substitute has come in; God is satisfied in the execution of judgment. When there is uprightness of heart, there will never be peace till the conscience is clean before God: it can never rest till it has cleansing according to what God has wrought, for God wrought it, God gave it, and God makes us know His satisfaction in His own holiness. The holy desires which God has wrought in us, are not satisfied till all the demands of God are met.
Well, suppose the conscience to be at rest, what is God going to do with this people that He has redeemed? and what is the efficacy of this power? God has done it; He has not only put away the sin, but has brought us nigh unto Himself. The Son of man, the second Adam, has brought us into the same position with Himself. Thus, when risen, He says, “Go tell my brethren, I ascend to my Father, and your Father,” &c. The first Adam did this also, bringing us down to the same condition with himself.
But we are predestined to be conformed to the image of God's Son (Rom. 8). What does this depend on? It is from the value of what His redemption wrought, and the power of His quickening life in resurrection. And the way in which it is to be known, is by looking at the Lord Jesus Himself. Where has this redemption brought Him? It has placed Him, the risen man, back in the presence of the glory where He was before as God. He humbled Himself; (Phil. 2; Heb. 2;) wherefore, a name is given Him above every name. He is set at God's right hand. And here I can trace the result of that redemption which the Lord Jesus wrought, and which brought Him from the bosom of the Father, in placing Him there again.
Another point of value is the life-giving power. What is this life-giving power? “Because I live ye shall live also.” And (Col. 3:3, 4,) we that have to combat with the evil in us, and to keep down the flesh, have the life of Christ in us; yet the soul daily needs the comfort of the blood. Where has God placed us? If we have not our part in the first Adam, we must have it in the second Adam—in Christ. There is no place with God for any one out of Christ. God cannot have persons out of Christ with Him, nor in a half state of glory. There is no half glory with Him. We are sanctified in Christ Jesus, accepted in the beloved. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature,” &c. &c. If redemption had not given believers a title to be with Him, He could not say, (John 17:24,) “Father, I will,” &c. It is the discovery of the ruin of man that throws us on the redemption that is in Christ. We cannot go higher or lower than that. The utter inability of man shows the efficacy of the blood. In the world Christians are poor, needy, and feeble; but Christ speaks these things in the world that they might have His joy fulfilled in them. Faith and love are superior to all circumstances, which are no hindrance, unless indeed we are in circumstances, contrary to God, which is another thing. Faith has an object. There is living power in Christ. We are kept and enabled by Him to pass though all circumstances unhurt. How does Christ set us in this place of power? (v. 15.) Not taken out of the world, but kept from the evil of it. He sets us in the same position as Himself (v. 16). “They are not of the world” stands good, even as regards our path and position: Christians in the world, in the same place as Christ Himself! How was Christ not of the world? Because He derived not His life from it, but from the Father. The object of that life was the Father. All His walk testifies that the world bad nothing to do with the Father. But in passing through this world as the Faithful Witness, all His ways declared that He was not of it. When He who created the world was in it, it knew Him not. (1 John 3) “Behold what manner of love,” &c. The world knows us not because it knew not Him. Our hearts would find consolation here if in conscious fellowship with Jesus. The saint has to go through this world without the support of it, in secret with the Father, and sustained by Him. The world cannot know from whence we derive our life, and the saint has to pass through the world without having the power to show from whence it springs. It is a thing not seen.
If the world could have acknowledged “we know this is the Son of God,” it would have been a sort of sustaining power to Jesus; so with the saints, they are not only not understood, but not acknowledged—separated because their nature comes from God. If we are willing to take this place, we must have it altogether above and below, for the Father cannot own the world; so is it a place of trial for the saint, (5:17) not merely one act for all, but sanctified by the truth. The life of the saint down here is continued separation. We can put nothing between Christ and the soul, between the Head and the members. There is nothing between the unity of the Father and the Son, nor between the unity of the Christ and the Church; but there is such a thing as growing up into the Head, “Sanctified through the truth.” There is not only negative opposition to the world on the part of the Christian, but positive opposition. We have to pass through many trials. It is blessed to fall into temptation, &c. (not sinful temptation, of course, as in James); but there may be circumstances very humbling, without sin. Self is to be subdued. In these we see and learn God, when the soul has grown able to judge itself. He is able to uproot and cut off these things as under-suckers of the old stock. The Christian is not only not of the world, as knowing the character of it, but delivered from it (v. 19.) We see the position into which the saint gets. The Lord sets Himself apart, that the Spirit may take of the things of Christ and show them unto us, that we may be more like Christ in the world. The Holy Ghost takes of these things, and comes down in living power to speak of these things to our souls—Father, Son, and Spirit, all work together. There is the Father's love, and the Son's and Spirit's power given unto us. The Church and the individual saint stand before the world to show the efficacy of the Father's love, as the epistle of Christ. I am not speaking of what we have attained unto, but what we are designed to be—where we are set, as our place; and though we have not yet attained to it, wherever we go, there is the living testimony of what the Father's grace has made us. Israel ought to have been what the law required, but mark the difference, failure brought in condemnation to them. We want not righteousness before God; that has been done once. So Heb. 10:14, “By one offering,” &c.; and Rom. 8:4, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,” &c.; also Dan. 9:24, “To bring in everlasting righteousness.” “But for manifestation down here, Paul appeals to the Corinthians for the recommendation of his apostleship. Every believer is a letter of recommendation of the grace of God, showing what God is. Christ was the living epistle of God on earth. If He took a child in His arms, or whatever He did, He manifested God. He says to us, “Be perfect as your Father,” &c., “Love your enemies,” &c.—i.e., let men see in you the Spirit of your Father. We have Christ's place before God, and in the world also—it may be in being hated or persecuted unto death. It is perfectly plain, if Christ sets us out for witnesses, that all question of our acceptance was settled. We must have union and communion with Him. If Christ had not been entirely one with His Father, He could not have represented Him. The Church is put in the place of Christ, and sent into the world to tell how great things God has done for her; being on God's behalf the epistle of Christ written by the Holy Ghost. We are now set in blessed grace, and persons judge of what the profession of Christ is by what Christians are (I do not say always uprightly). If living in communion with God we are not thinking of ourselves. Moses did not know his face shone when every one else did. He had been looking up out of himself and turned towards the earth, bearing upon Him the light of heaven.
I know so little of Christ, one may say, and this may be true; but every grace that is in Christ is in every saint, though not developed. Supposing you a babe in Christ, we may see many things in babes to admire and follow after. Where there is true lowliness of heart, I display God, as a babe manifesting Him; but if, as a babe, I am attempting to manifest Christ as a man, there will be failure. My wisdom will be, not to set myself up above that which I really am. If walking in true lowliness and manifesting that measure of Christ which is in us, there will be certain progress in us. It is in the presence of God that sin ought to be found out. I dishonor Christ if I trip in my path. If I see the secret sin in my heart, I shall be humble before God—I shall be humble before the world. If I detect pride, &c., in my heart, I shall go to God and confess it. I may not have power to prevent an unholy thought, but if I resist it, then the Spirit is not grieved thereby; but He brings the soul into communion and fellowship with Christ. This is a process of joy though humbling. If living with Him, He shows the good in Christ for me; so in our path in this present world, we are partakers of His holiness, being “changed into the same image from glory to glory” (ver. 21).
Remark, also, that unity is spoken of three times in this chapter, the first being absolute unity as having the very same nature as Christ, the communion of the same divine nature, and one Holy Ghost, and the practical unity that flows from this. “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” Now the Spirit dwells in us, and makes us one—not one amongst ourselves, but altogether in the Father and the Son. All question of what the individual is, is lost sight of, and the Holy Ghost, Father and Son have communion—we, by the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, are brought into the consciousness of this, all question of acceptance settled. 2nd, not only union, but communion. “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in them, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou has sent me.” 3rd, not merely quickened but He adds, (ver. 22), glory given to us that was given to Jesus. This is not essential union as the first, nor communion as the second, but thirdly, the display—Christ displayed in the Church and Christ displaying the Father. It is I in them and thou in me—beginning up there and coming down here—the full display of redemption when the world will see the oneness and the holy angels also, and we having glory and power from Christ, shall see the Father. The miracles at the beginning were a sample, the power of healing going forth from the Church. Christ will be admired in His saints—that holy city (Rev. 21:23, 24), in the light of which the saved nations will walk. The display is, “that the world may know,” &c. Now the world does not know us, but then the world shall know that we have been loved as Christ. But are we to wait to know till the world does? No, by faith, through the revelation of the Holy Ghost, we know now what the world will know by and by—we believe before we see. Supposing I have the consciousness that I am loved as the Father loved Jesus, what happiness will be then! My soul filled with this grace will show it out to others. What a spring of grace is there! The world knows it not, but if I am clothed with grace, I am armed with grace, I am living on the truth and enjoying it now. The Father's love gave Christ for you and to you. Would the world find the same grace in you and the same love (in kind, not measure) that Christ exhibited? Are ye faithful in bearing about this character of God before the world? God came down here in Christ—in man, that he might display the perfectness of divine dealing and divine tenderness in the form of man. If I am expecting something from you before I show love, I shall be disappointed, and I shall not manifest God. I must not wait for that, I am to act in grace. It did not matter in one sense what Christ met with from others; He was always satisfied with God. He had all His joy in God. If we were perfectly satisfied with God this would be perfection. Suppose we had no kind brother to cheer us up under trial, &c., so far as we are filled up with what God is, we shall be satisfied. Suppose you are left alone for two hours, if not in communion with the Lord, you crave after a book, &c., proving that God is not enough for you. In the early Church we find they were in favor with all the people. The man Christ Jesus grew in favor with God and man. He was always the servant of every one. The first thing that struck me some years ago in reading the gospel was, Here is a man that never did anything for Himself. What a miracle to see a man not living to Himself, for He had got God for Himself! Have we realized what we are in Christ, so as to have our hearts filled with Him? God has given us Christ's place in life, then adoption and glory. Therefore the life should show itself more clearly. Are we seeking His place now? Is there the active energy of the Spirit in you desiring to be all this? Well, that place you have: if merely a babe, or an old man, or a young man, is it not worth having? to be bearers of the character of Christ, to be trusted with the testimony of Jesus?
Again, there is one thing more in the last verses. He sums up the result of what He had said. Not only has He put us down here, one with Himself, but He must have us up there to see all His glory, to be with Him and to be like Him He counts on our love delighting in His glory.
Righteous Father” (v. 25). This solemn word is the everlasting separation between the world and Christ. It will never see Him again. He says, as it were, The world will not have Me: they have rejected Me. If I am to be approved, those that rejected Me, because I manifested the Father, cannot have a common portion with Me; so now, Thou Father, must decide the point. Then we have God's answer (John 12:31): “now is the judgment of this world.” When the Holy Ghost comes (John 16), it is because of the rejection of Christ. He says I am here because Christ is there (ver. 26). “I have declared thy name,” &c. We get the Lord Jesus sustaining us in this—this is what He is doing now: communicating the knowledge of the Father to us, not only in grace, but in the fellowship of the glory. He declares it from the Father's house and throne, according to the knowledge He has of it as with the Father. The Father, by the Spirit, shows us Jesus at the right hand of God. “I in them” (ver. 26). The blessed Jesus manifest Himself (when done with the word, in a manner it knows not) to His saints. There is a difference between good and spiritual desires, and the power of the Holy Ghost taking of the things of Christ and showing them to us. There is not merely the new nature but the power of the Spirit wanted, if true to Christ. If I take up with other things (I do not mean sins), there is failure. An idle look even will grieve the Spirit, and I have lost the power of communion. Ours ought not to be a religion of regrets, but a rejoicing of heart continually, love being shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. God has set us here as the epistle of Christ. Let us not seek to be satisfied with looking at ourselves or others, but up unto Him continually, growing in His likeness more and more.

Notes on Scripture: 11. Psalm 16

What we find written in the Psalm is primarily connected with the Jews, or the Lord Jesus Himself, and particularly as Messiah. They have a special reference to the godly remnant in the latter day. Many of their expressions wholly belong to the Jews, and cannot be used by the Church. Hence, the true solution of those passages which have been such a terrible stumbling to Christians not seeing it. The saints of the present dispensation cannot rightly be looking for the destruction of their enemies, as a way of escape from their sorrows. But in the time of trouble such as never has been that is to come, it will be quite proper for the suffering Jews to look for judgments as a way of deliverance. They are God's promises, and what their hope rests upon. But the Church looks to be caught up and escape from sorrow by being with the Lord in the heavens, whilst it is quite true that she has His sympathy in her sorrow down here. But what the Psalm are chiefly occupied with is the suffering of the soul, the sorrows of the godly Jews and remnant, and God coming in judgment, as their deliverer, by the execution of vengeance on all their foes. Christ is viewed there as associated with Israel, and enters into all the sufferings of the holy remnant.
Then there are certain psalms which belong personally to Himself. They show out the character of the Spirit of Christ, as the Gospels show His walk and work. The Gospels display the One in whom was no selfishness. They tell out the heart that was ready for every body. No matter how deep His “own sorrow, He always cared for others. He could warn Peter in Gethsemane, and comfort the dying thief on the cross. His heart was above circumstances, never acting under them, but ever according to God in them. We see that He was always sensible to them, and often get in the Psalms expressions of what His heart felt in them, “I am poured out like water.” “My bones are out of joint.” “My heart is like wax.” He was the tried man; and, as man tried, I am called to follow Him. I should forget self, and the things belonging to self, in showing love to others. The true effect of being near Christ puts me into fellowship with Himself about others, instead of being under my own circumstances. How can I be turning my heart to the joys of one, and the sorrows of another, unless I am living close to Christ, and getting my heart filled with Him instead of self? What we find all through the life of Christ, as shown out in the Gospels, is the total absence of selfishness, never acting for self in any way whatever. He could rejoice with those who had joy, and grieve with those in sorrow. He could cheer, warn, or rebuke, as need arose. Whatever love dictated, that He did.
In Psa. 22 we see Christ alone, suffering under God, enduring the wrath due to sin, but continuing the righteous man, crying unto God, and justifying Him, even when forsaken by Him: or if we look at Him, as in Psa. 69 suffering rather from men, God is still His refuge. His heart goes through all the sorrow sin could bring on One who takes the sinner's place. He passed through the deepest exercises heart could endure, but He brings all to God. We find the greatest difficulty often in bringing our sorrow to God. How can I do so, the soul of some may be saying, as my sorrow is the fruit of my sin? How can I take it to God If it was suffering for righteousness' sake, then I would; but I am suffering for my sin; and can I, in the integrity of my heart towards God, take my sorrows to Him, knowing I deserve them? Yes; CHRIST has been to God about them. This, then, is the ground on which I can go. There has been perfect atonement for all my sins; Christ has been judged for them. Will God judge us both? No; I go to Him on the ground of atonement, and God can afford to meet me in all my sorrow, because Christ's work has been so perfectly done. In the main, all sorrow is from sin, and all help is grounded upon the atonement. There would be no possibility of my trusting in God, had not all His dealings with sin been put upon another.
God could not be indifferent about sin. Peter knew that, when he said, “depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” The holy character of God has been fully exercised in putting away sin. He has dealt with Christ about it, according to all that He is. I may have to taste the bitterness of its fruits; God may make me to feel the effects of my sin, because He is not going to judge me for it. “As sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ.” I get my conscience perfectly purged, through the blood of Christ shed in perfect love. The obedience of the One who bore my sins is mine. I am declared righteous through the righteousness of another. My heart is free: I can deal with God about my sin, because He has dealt with Christ on the cross about it. I can go to Him in all my sorrow on account of it. I can confess my sin; yea, more, I can say, “Search me, O God, and try me,... and see if there be any wicked way in me,” &c. Through grace I can take the place before God which Christ takes; and the ground for me is the atonement.
We find divine utterance in the Psalms for all our sorrows; and it is blessed to look at them in this way. Christ entered into the full effects of sin, as none other can, in a way we never shall; and when He had been at the “horns of the unicorn,” —the very transit of death, as it were—and had settled every question with God about sin, He could then say, “I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.” We shall never lose Him as our companion—what a comfort! We shall follow Him to the glory. I am going to be with Him. His presence will be my delight. What a place the saints are brought to in Christ—all sorrow passed!
We get, in Psa. 16, expressions of the Lord's own proper joy—the joy of Him whom God called His fellow. Peter, on the mount of transfiguration, would have put Him on a level with Moses and Elias; but God said, No: He is my fellow, not man's. When the young man in the gospel went to Him, saying, “Good master,” —coming to Him as man—He said, “Why call me good? there is none good but God.” Goodness was not to be looked for in man, not even in Him if He had been only man. The saints are Christ's constant delight, and the poor sinner, who puts his trust in God, has the Lord Jesus for his comforter; and He, having been tempted, knows how to help, as none other can.
In the days of John the Baptist, all who repented came to the waters of baptism; Jesus did the same. He could not repent, but He would not be separated from them, and said, “Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” I will take My place with you—with the saints in the earth.
What abundant consolation faith gives the man who hangs on God? Christ when down here could say, “I set Jehovah always before me;” and should not I? In the details of life, do I not constantly need Him? How continually I get moved by circumstances He alone can stay me. Christ once took the dependent place. He was raised by the power of the Spirit through God the Father. He could have raised Himself; death had No power over Him The Son was the Father's delight. The Father's heart was bound up in the Son. The Lord Jesus Christ was all the Father's delight.
Christ is in His presence as man and for man, as our forerunner and our way. It is so blessed to look at Christ as the way; it brings Him so near to us. As surely as I have, as a man, partaken of the first Adam's nature, and the consequences of his sin, so, as a believer, have I a portion in the second Adam. The Lord Jesus Christ is in the presence of. God for me. There are truly difficulties down here; but I shall be with Him where there are joys for evermore. God will be glorified as God, but He will be displayed as man also; and, as in Christ, we shall share the glory. How gracious and truly blessed those words, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” He will be with His saints, and His saints with Him. They shall be conformed to His image; they shall be displayed in His likeness. We shall see Him, and we shall be like Him; and now, in the measure we are looking at Him, are we transformed into His image It is our positive portion, and in communion with Him we share what He is. His delight is with the saints; He entered into their deepest sorrow: and they shall share His joy and glory, as exalted on high.
How am I acting towards Him now? Do I take all my concerns to Him? Do I make Him the upper most thought in all my need, in every exercise of soul, and also in my seasons of joy? This is the way to learn Him, and to know the love that is in His heart.
There is no condition but what I may have Him for my companion in. He has gone into the fullest depths of my sorrow. “Deep crieth unto deep,” He could say. There is not a place faith cannot find Christ in. “Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.” But am I going on in the world with Him? Are my joys such as I can share along with Him? Am I walking with Him in my every-day life? If I am in sorrow, how far has He lifted me up? If I am resting on Him, He has lifted me up, and that is my positive privilege. The heart that is cast upon Christ finds constant comfort. The heart that keeps close to Christ gets nothing apart from Him. (See Psa. 23) If I have a question of want, I can say, there is no fear, “the Lord is my shepherd.” Am I saying, I am in green pastures, but they will be soon gone? Nay; He makes me to “lie down” in them. Then there are “still waters;” but may they not be shortly troubled? How is that, when Christ leads me beside them? My heart is sorrowful; I have wandered away from Him. That is sad. But Christ “restoreth my soul;” and if I have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, He will be with me, and will comfort me. Ah! but I am in the land of my enemies. What of that? Christ prepares a table for me in their very presence. “Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” How blessed it is to look at the Lord in this way! He is our present and eternal joy. The time will come when all our sorrow will be over, but our Friend will remain. He is our tried and true Friend. He has entered into the deepest woes of our heart, and will make us the sharers of His joy forever. Our blessing, our safety, our hope is all grounded on the atonement. Is there a soul reading this who cannot rejoice in Christ, who knows Him not as his portion? Is there one who is saying, My sin is too great to be pardoned? To feel about your sin is right, but to be in despair about it is quite wrong. You are virtually saying, My sin is greater than the grace of God. You will not dare to say so if you are looking at Christ. Is Christ come short? Is grace beneath your need or above it?
Christ, is the portion of every poor soul who believes on Him. The atoning work is done. The blood of Jesus Christ God's Son cleanseth from all sin.

Notes on Scripture: 12. John 10

The more we study the ways of the Lord Jesus, the more we shall find what is unfathomable in goodness and beauty. In this chapter what extremes meet in reference to Him! What power, and yet what submission! There are heights of moral glory, and yet depths of humiliation. He presents Himself as the Son of God, and yet he enters in by the door, and has the porter opening to Him.
The person of the Lord Jesus will always afford food for our souls, if we study Him; and while we shall be humbled by it, we shall be strengthened with the consciousness that all that He is, He is for us. The heart delights in Him as one it can feel as its own, and yet admire and adore.
At this time the Lord had been fully putting Israel to the test. Chapters 8 and 9 show us how entirely He was rejected. In the eighth His word is rejected, and in the ninth His works. Thus the result of His coming is, that He is cast out, and He says, “For judgment I am come into the world;” and because of their treatment of Him, they are culpably guilty. “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin; but now, ye say, we see; therefore your sin remaineth.” Then He as much as goes on to say, “Not one bit of it is in vain.” He had come as He ought, and in the prescribed way— “by the door,” and God would own and make good his coming, though He was rejected and set at naught. All His sheep should come to Him, and He could say, “I have spent my strength for naught and in vain, and yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.” If He had come acknowledged as a king, in glory and power, He would have had many follow Him; but now though He was the lowly and despised one, He would have all who really wanted Him. “He that entereth not by the door, but climbeth up some other way, is a thief and a robber.” All these great messiahs, setting up to be some one, (and there were plenty of them), were no better than “thieves and robbers.” We see at once here who it is that comes in by the door, and the first thing we find in Him is absolute submission; and notice that this, though true of the Shepherd, primarily, is true also of all who follow the Shepherd. All power and real effective service will be found to spring from entire submission. There was entire rejection for Him as He said, “They came about me like dogs.” — “My bones are like wax.” It was a painful thing thus to be met—everything deepening and darkening towards death as He passed along, but He went through it all, and thus entered in by the door in perfect submission. Those who found Him must be brought into the same place too, for it was there He found them. See the blind man: where did He find him? In the place of his rejection. Christ is before him when they “cast him out.” There is not one such poor sheep whom His voice cannot reach. He meets souls just where they need Him; in distress or difficulty, no matter what He suffers Himself for them. He went in by the door, and He was the true shepherd—not of Israel, indeed, for they as a people rejected Him; but He is the shepherd of the sheep—of all whose consciousness and hearts were touched. He is “the shepherd of the sheep.” Does He use His power in claiming them for Himself? No! He is the submissive one, coming in perfect dependence on God. Thus when Lazarus was dead, He did not move until He had a word from God to do it. He took the form of a servant, and a servant must be dependent and obedient.
“To him the porter opens.” “I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.” He was here in complete humiliation, and this was His perfectness as man. God, His Father, does not spare Him the suffering, but He opens the door. As a fact He has come, and the sheep hear his voice. Though trodden upon by the goats in the way, He does not care for that, but goes after the sheep: and the sheep know that He cares for them—they understand that He has an interest in them, for they “hear His voice.” Why did He bear all the contempt poured upon His words and works, Son of God as He was? It was for the sake of the sheep. He was content to bear the trampling of the goats for the sake of the sheep amongst them. Then, again, there is perfect ability in Him to deliver them. He is not going to leave them amongst the goats. No: He leadeth them out. He draws their hearts: He makes Himself known to them, and charges Himself with their safety and deliverance. “He goes before them.” When He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them. What, then, are there no dangers and difficulties in the way? With Israel, when brought out of Egypt, and over the sea, were they in no danger of losing their way? Yes: but there was the cloud to guide them. Was there no danger from enemies in the way? Yes: but there was the captain of the Lord's host. So now with His sheep, He leads them out, and does not leave them. He goeth before them, and time sheep follow Him See what certainty there is there. Persons may make this remark or that, but if I know it is Christ's voice, it is enough for me. “Let us go forth to him without the camp.” It is not now for me to remain in the Jewish fold. “He leadeth them out.” But some will say, How do you know it is not your own will you are following? It says, “They know his voice.” The sheep know the voice of Christ, and if they have not got His voice, they stop until they have. There is one voice they know. There are plenty of other voices, but they do not know them. Sheep are silly, stupid creatures, but they know the shepherd's voice—that one voice. The moment Christ's voice has reached me, it is enough: and this gives a peace and quietness in one's path that nothing else does. It is not great wisdom or great strength that gives this, but it is hearing the shepherd's voice and knowing it. If not the shepherd's voice, it is dreaded. “A stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him.” The shepherd does not frighten. He gives strength and confidence; and His voice having once reached the heart, nothing else is needed. This is when the eye is single. If double, a man is unstable in all his ways—not in one, but in all.
Never was divine love so shown forth as in Christ coming down so low: and it was because He is what He is, that He could do it. If Adam left His first estate, it was sin; but Christ could humble Himself, and it was the perfectness of love. While He entered in Himself by the appointed way, He is the door—the entrance to the way for everyone else. They would not, as Jews, have been warranted in leaving the Jewish fold, if Christ had not come as the door into another thing. He was the warrant, and so with us. By Him we may come out and enter in and find peace and blessing. What marks the sheep is that Christ is his door. He is the door for the sheep. They could not say they were saved, because Jews, though they had God's oracles and much advantage every way: it was only by Christ they could be saved. Mark, it says, “If any man enter in, he shall be saved.” It does not say, if they follow on well, but if they “enter in.” There must be the real hearing the voice of the good Shepherd. If he enters in, he is saved; and he cannot enter in without being saved. Then there is a path to follow, doubtless: but that is the result of being saved. We shall find it difficult oft-times, Satan tripping us up, the world and the flesh; but the door is to go in and out by. There is liberty of heart. I can go out into the world to testify of Christ, because my soul is in the safeguard of Christ Himself; not pent up in ordinances, nor in monasticism. There is food also, and they “find pasture.” They enjoy all the truth of God's word.
Christ's sheep thus have safety too. “None can pluck them out of my Father's hand.” They have liberty, “going in and out,” and they have all the food God can give. They “find pasture,” and what more will they have. They will get the glory by and by.
Then He contrasts Himself with all these false teachers that have gone before, and says of Himself, “I am come that they might have life.” Not content with giving life only, He gives it “more abundantly.” As in Romans, “They that receive abundance of grace shall reign in life; by our Lord Jesus Christ.” Here we serve in life; then we shall reign in life. What liberty, what abundance of all things it gives, when we see that He is our life! He gives life more abundantly. Cost what it will, He is intent on saving them. “He giveth his life for the sheep,” as though He said, I am devoted to you, and I am determined to get you out of this wretched place in which you are: I'll get you out, cost what it will. “I am the good shepherd, and I lay down my life for the sheep.” He has so given his sheep life, and now He will give all that they want in life. (See the contrast of these hireling shepherds). It might be said, if He has given His life for them He can do nothing more. But no I it is not so with Him. See verse 14, “I know my sheep and am known of mine.” There is not only caring for the flock as a whole, but for the individual sheep— “and am known of mine.” Paul knew He loved the Church, “and gave Himself for it;” and he knew also that He loved him and gave Himself for him. Then there is as true a relationship of love between Christ and the sheep now, as there is between Him and His Father. (v. 15). Further, “There shall be one flock, one shepherd.” Jew and Gentile were to be brought into the Church of God. “Therefore doth my Father love me.” He says, “because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” This shows the wonderful value of the work done. it is a motive for the Father's love! Yet however low He might go, even to the laying down His life, He could take it up again. He had power [title or authority] to do it; but He was in the place of obedience. “This commandment have I received of my Father.” He had power, but He was the obedient servant. What a difference there is between Him and us! We could not take up our lives again, if we laid them down. It was in virtue of His divine title and power, as well as love, that He came so low for us.
Ver. 24 (and downwards) shows us the different ways in which the Pharisees heard and received His sayings to what His sheep do. Christ's voice has power in the heart, and that is the secret of the difference between them and the goats. And see the full security and extent of blessing they have in virtue of the Shepherd's title and power. “I give unto them ETERNAL LIFE.” It is a life that is eternal, not that which is to be taken away again. Whoever has heard Christ's voice has eternal life. It must be eternal life that Christ gives; for if one of His sheep could perish, Christ must perish. And it must be a holy life, too, that He gives, for the same reason. What Christ gives must be holy, for He is holy. “They shall never perish.” A sheep is a perishing thing, but His sheep do not perish. We may fall asleep, or we may be changed; but this same life that we have now in Him, and with Him, we shall have then at His coming. There are two points in which this blessed security consists. First, Christ is in them, as their life; secondly, “None shall pluck them out of my hand.” They are in His hand. The Father hath given us to Christ, and He is to do the work for us. The Father's love is concerned, and He is able to do it all. You must get some one more powerful than God, if you can be plucked out of His hand. The Father sent the Son and the Son has sent the Spirit, so that all three are concerned in our salvation. There is, then, salvation, and eternal life for the sheep; but how are we to know who are the sheep? They are those who know His voice.
Then we get the sweet thought that as the shepherd, He leads them all the way. It is hearing Christ's voice that distinguishes the Christian, though there are sorrows and troubles, difficulties and perplexities. Hearing Christ's voice has absolute authority and power for him “Perplexed, but not in despair.”
How wonderful that He should have thus come down to let us hear His voice! How precious here to be taught that Jesus and the Father are one! that the glory of the Son's person is identified with the security of the sheep, both against inward weakness and outward violence, as it is with the height and depth of the love of which the sheep were the objects. The Father and the Son are one in divine essence, as they are in efficacious love to the sheep.

Notes on Scripture: 2. Abraham and Lot

The destruction of Sodom is a figure of what will happen when the Lord comes. They carried themselves as if the world was to last forever. Such is still the great sin of the world, and what marks the incredulity of the heart (2 Peter 3) Men make all possible arrangements for the future; and yet, since the death of Jesus, the world cannot count upon a single day. God is waiting till the iniquity of the earth reaches its height, till it is all out and open before He exercises judgment. The world takes advantage of this. “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Eccl. 8:11). It is the principle and the practice of infidelity all through: it was the history of the antediluvians and of the doomed cities of the plain (Luke 17:26-30.)
The Church, the Christian, has properly but one object—Christ in heaven, and therefore is called to be in heart separated from everything here below. Abraham, as far as he was a stranger and pilgrim on earth, is the type of the faithful. (Heb. 11) He saw the promises afar off, was persuaded of them, embraced them, and confessed himself a pilgrim here below. Of such God is not ashamed to be called their God. He would be ashamed to own as His people those who make this world their fatherland. “And truly if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned: but now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God.” Abraham had only a burying-place in the land of Canaan. As he followed God in the main faithfully, God took a particular interest in him: Abraham is called “the friend of God.” There is no uncertainty in his movements. He quits Ur of the Chaldees; he and his leave Haran subsequently “they went forth to go into the land of Canaan, and into the Land of Canaan they came.” Luke 17:32.
On the other hand, Lot's wife, (“remember Lot's Wife,”) left Sodom in bodily presence, not in heart. Her judgment is recalled to mind by the Savior. Which of the two does Christendom resemble? His people are not in a state which God can own, if they do not say such things as Abraham, if they say them not in deed and in truth.
God communicates His thoughts to Abraham, and Abraham responds, in his measure, to such grace on God's part. He is not here, as in Gen. 15 asking something for Himself; he intercedes for others. There is no lovelier scene than the opening one of Gen. 18 upon which the infidel spues his wretched materialism, and proves his moral incapacity to appreciate God's gracious condescension to his “friend.” “This did not Abraham.” Accustomed to the ways and words of God, he quickly feels the divine presence; yet he beautifully waits till the Lord is pleased to discover Himself, acting all the while with a touching and instinctive deference. Indeed, such intimacy was not only most suitable to the infancy of man in the revealed blessings of God, but it was the fitting prelude and preparation for Abraham to learn the high privileges in store for him; above all, for that precious communion which rejoices in another's blessing, and sympathizes in another's sorrows. God therein assured Abraham, in such a way as he could not possibly mistake, of His interest and His confidence in him. “And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in Him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him” (Gen. 18:17-19). Abraham enjoys the closest intercourse with Jehovah, who reveals His counsels to him. Not only is he told afresh, with fuller light, of the promised seed, but he learns from God the imminent destruction of Sodom.
Now God has displayed other, richer, and more spiritual means of assuring our hearts of His love but nothing could be more appropriate then than His dealings with Abraham. He appears to him in the plains of Mamre. He comes before the tent door, enters, converses, and walks with him. He wanted to confirm the heart of Abraham practically; and He succeeded, we need scarcely add. The effect appears in pleading before Jehovah. For us, through infinite grace, He has provided something better still. He has come and manifested Himself in Jesus. And we have the certainty that we have, in the man Christ Jesus, one who ever intercedes for us; yea, we see ourselves in Jesus before God; and the Holy Ghost gives us an intimacy with God, which even Abraham did not and could not enjoy, because the basis which renders it possible was not yet laid. It is too likely that we have made little progress in using this nearness to God; but such is our standing privilege: though it be not a palpable visible thing, the reality of this intimacy is not the less great. The counsels of God are revealed to us in His word, and the Holy Spirit is given to us that we may know and enjoy them. What we fail in is the simple and strong faith of Abraham.
Abraham does not dread the presence of Jehovah; such fear is the effect of sin. If we have seen the glory of God in Jesus, the divine presence becomes sweet to us: we find there full strength and confidence. To know Him is indeed life eternal, and His presence makes us happy with the deepest possible joy.
When a soul is in this confidence God shares His thoughts, as here He treats Abraham as a friend, telling him even what concerns the world. With a friend we do not speak of mere business, but of what we have on our heart. Intercession is the fruit of the divine revelation and fellowship. Abraham, separate from the world, and with the Lord upon the mountain, communes of the judgment which was about to fall upon the world below. The Church is, in a still more positive and complete way, separated to God from the world, and beloved of Him God confides to the Church His thoughts—not merely what He means to do for her, but what is hanging over the world. The Son of man is going to judge the quick as well as the dead; and He has told us of it.
God shows the world the utmost patience. He lingers; He is not slack as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. If His love be displayed to us in ways beyond and more spiritual than that which the elders tasted, His forbearance to the guilty world is also more marked. If a man had to govern the world, he could not endure its ingratitude and iniquity for an hour. God brings His friend, in some degree, to enter into His own long-suffering, and even reproduces it, as it were, in him. The angels, in the guise of men, turn their faces and go toward Sodom; but Abram stood yet before the Lord. Such also is the portion of the Church—to stand before the Lord and learn His purposes and thoughts. She is familiar with His love for her, and has the consciousness of it. She intercedes for the world, in the hope that there is still room for grace. The heart lives above the circumstances to draw upon the love that is in God. If we cannot intercede for a person, the sin is stronger than our faith. When we are practically near God, the Spirit which sees the sin intercedes for the sinner Abraham is silent (ver. 32, 33), “and the Lord went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham;” but he did more than Abraham asked. He withdrew Lot from Sodom and saved him. Nothing could be done till Lot was safe. (Gen. 19:16, 22.) God's eye was upon him. What blessedness to be able to reckon on His love for the righteous!
Abraham persevered in intercession, though he stopped short of the fullness of God's mercy. We know not, as God knows, all He is going to do. Nevertheless we may intercede with faith. Abraham grows bold as he goes on his confidence increases. In result he knows God much better than before. The peace of God kept his heart. The fruit of it all is seen in Gen. 19:27, 28, where Abraham gets up early in the morning, to the place where he stood before the Lord, and looks down on the plain, now smoking like a furnace. From far above he sees the effects of the utter destruction. Such is our position if we are heavenly. It is thus that we see the judgment of the wicked. Lot and his daughters had been spared—saved so as by fire—not to their honor, but through the faithful care and tender mercy of the Lord. It was his unfaithfulness, indeed, that had placed Lot there; it was his unmortified desire after the good things of the world. “And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord... Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan” (Gen. 13); then he pitched his tent toward Sodom. Next he dwelt in Sodom. (Gen. 14) On the eve of its downfall, “Lot sat in the gate of Sodom,” in the place of honor there! (Gen. 19:1) sad example of the earthly minded believer in the path of declension! Such men dishonor the Lord, and pierce themselves through with many sorrows.

Notes on Scripture: 3. Jesus the Author and Finisher of Faith

All the witnesses for God spoken of in Heb. 11 are for our encouragement in the path of faith; but then there is a difference between them and Jesus. Accordingly the apostle here singles Him out of all.
If I see Abraham, who by faith sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country, or Isaac, who blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come, or Jacob on his dying bed of blessing and worship, they have all run their race before; but in Jesus we have a far higher witness. Besides, in Him there is the grace to sustain us in the race. Therefore in looking unto Jesus we get a motive and an unfailing source of strength. We see in Jesus the love which led Him to take this place for us, who, “when he putteth forth his own sheep, goeth before them.” For, if a race is to be run, we need a fore-runner. And in Jesus we have got One who did run before us, and has become the Captain and Completer of faith, in looking to whom we draw strength into our souls. While Abraham and the rest filled up in their little measure their several places, Christ has filled up the whole course of faith. There is no position that I can be in, no trial whatever that I can endure, but Christ has passed through all and overcome. Thus I have got one who presents Himself in that character which I need; and I find in Him One who knows what grace is wanted, and will supply it; for He has overcome, and says to me, “Be of good cheer: I have overcome the world” —not, you shall overcome; but, I have overcome. It was so in the case of the blind man (John 9:31, &c.) who was cast out of the synagogue; and why? Because Jesus had been cast out before him. And now we learn that, however rough the storm maybe, it does but throw us the more thoroughly on Christ, and thus that which would have been a sore trial does but chase us closer to Him Whatever turns our eye away from Christ is but a hindrance to our running the race that is set before us. If Christ has become the object of the soul, let us lay aside every weight. If I am running a race, a cloak, however comfortable, would only hinder and must be got rid of: it is a weight, and would prevent my running. I do not want anything to entangle my feet. If I am looking to Jesus in the appointed race, I must throw the cloak aside: otherwise it would seem strange to throw away so useful a garment. Nay, more; however much encouragement the history of antecedent faithful witnesses in Heb. 11 may give, our eye must be fixed on Jesus, the true and faithful One. There is not a trial or difficulty that He has not passed through before me, and found His resources in God the Father. He will supply the needed grace to my heart.
There were these two features in the life of Christ down here. First, He exercised constant dependence on His Father: as He said, “I live by the Father.” The new man is ever a dependent man. The moment we get out of dependence, we get into the flesh. It is not through our own life (for, indeed, we have but death) that we really live, but by Christ, through feeding on Him In the highest possible sense He walked in dependence on the Father, and for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame. Secondly, His affections were undivided. You never find Christ having any new object revealed to Him so as to induce Him to go on in His path of faithfulness. Paul and Stephen, on the other hand, had the glory revealed to them, which enabled them to endure. For when heaven was opened to Stephen, the Lord appeared in glory to him, as afterward to Saul of Tarsus. But when the heavens opened on Jesus, there was no object presented to Him, but, on the contrary, He was the object of heaven; the Holy Ghost descends upon Him; and the voice of the Father declares, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Thus, the divine person of the Lord is always being witnessed to. The apostle here lays hold of the preciousness of Christ in the lowliness into which He has come; but he never loses sight of the glory of Him who has come there. So when I get Christ at the baptism of John, I see Him at the lowest point (save in another way on the cross); and finding Him there, I find all the divine compassion of His heart.

Notes on Scripture: 4. the Call of the Bride

In Abraham, as being the depositary of the promises of God to the patriarchs, we find the fundamental principles of the believer. Abraham having offered up his son Isaac, and having received him back, this act gives us the type of the resurrection of Jesus, who becomes like Isaac, heir of all the goods of His Father. Rebekah, type of the Church, is called to be the bride of Isaac risen. Afterward in Jacob we have the typical history of the Jewish people.
In Abraham we have the principle of man's relationship with God, pure grace without law. Hagar is introduced as a figure of the law coming in. Isaac, raised from the dead in figure, shows us Christ, the Head, having accomplished His work, and being in the position to maintain all the results of the divine counsels.
In this chapter Abraham sends Eliezer to seek a wife for Isaac. This represents the Holy Spirit sent by the Father to seek the Church, “the bride, the Lamb's wife.” It is not Isaac who goes to look for a bride. No more does Christ return to this earth to choose a Church for Himself. Rebekah must leave her country, and come to the land of promise. In this chapter we see the features of the Holy Spirit's work, and how a soul is conducted under His guidance. This is what we are about to see in Eliezer and Rebekah.
Verses 1, 2. Abraham, having become old, says to the eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, “Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh; and I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell.” The first thing which is presented to us here is Eliezer, who has the superintendence of all the goods of his master. He is not the heir—the son is the heir. Thus the Holy Spirit has the disposal of all things. He takes of the things of Christ and shows them unto us, i.e., to the Church. Verse 5. “But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou earnest? And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.” It is impossible that there should be any relation between Christ risen again and this world. Isaac does not go for Rebekah, but she must come to him. Abraham gives directions to his servant; thus the first thing is to be directed by the word of God. Instead of making further inquiries, Abraham's servant makes ready and goes off to Mesoptamia, to the city of Nahor, with no other information (verses 9-11.)
It is important that we should act in the same manner. Natural wisdom can form a judgment up to a certain point; but it takes the soul away from the presence of God, even when we are doing things according to God: if we begin to deliberate, there is hesitation; we take the counsel of flesh and blood. The first thing is to put ourselves in the presence of God; without that, there is neither wisdom nor power; whereas, placed in the path of blessing, we get from Him all the intelligence which we shall need. We observe this in the journey of Abraham's servant.
Eliezer says, “O Lord God of my master Abraham.” He does not say “my God.” The promises had been made to Abraham, and God had revealed Himself as the God of Abraham. Here the servant shows himself in entire dependence, and we find him in the path of promise, not exalting himself, but acting according to the counsels of God in entire dependence, and not pretending to have anything, except where God had placed the blessing; for the promises had been made to Abraham. For us this blessing is in Christ, and there is the answer to our requests; nor do we desire to obtain anything sate where God has put His blessing, namely, in the path of the obedience of faith.
Eliezer addresses the God of his master Abraham praying him to favor his master: “O Lord, let it come to pass that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also, let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast showed kindness unto my master.” (O Lord, thou must act, and I must know by that the one whom thou hast designed to be the wife of thy servant Isaac; the one who will do these things will be the one whom thou hast chosen.)
“And it came to pass, before he had clone speaking that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher. And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. And she basted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels. And the man wondering at her, held his peace.” Why any doubt? Why does he hesitate, since his request has obtained such an answer? Here is the reason. Whatever may be the apparent manifestation of the hand of God, there is a positive rule in the word to which the Christian must pay attention, and which he must not neglect, because of his weakness in discerning what is of God. Faith looks to the power of God, but judges all by the word; for God must act according to His word; and the servant, being in communion with God, ought to act in this thought; and even when there may be signs, he should decide nothing until the will of God be clear according to His word. He must be able to say, “This is indeed according to God.”
And it came to pass, as the camels had clone drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands, of ten shekels weight of gold; and said, Whose daughter art thou, tell me, I pray thee: is there room in thy father's house for us to lodge in? And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah, whom she bare unto Nahor. She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.”
God had perfectly answered the desire of Abraham.
Eliezer, for his part, sees that he has been heard. Before going farther, before even entering the house, inasmuch as he had recognized the intervention of God in the whole of this business, he bowed himself and worshipped the Lord, and said, “Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of His mercy and His truth: I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master's brethren.” We see the same thing in Daniel; he betakes himself to prayer with his companions; and when Daniel has received the revelation of the dream, before presenting himself before the king, who had commanded that he should come, he blesses God for having revealed to him that which the king wanted to know. It is always thus when God is in our hearts; we feel that it is He who is acting, and we thank Him.
“And the damsel ran and told them of her mother's house these things. And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban; and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well. And it came to pass when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister's hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me, that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the well. And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the Lord; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels.”
Laban and Bethuel, after having heard Abraham's servant narrate the circumstances, acknowledge that the thing proceeds from the Lord, and say, “We cannot speak unto thee bad or good.” (Verse 50.) Thus, if in the circumstances of our Christian life we act in entire dependence on God, He will make our way plain, and will even soften our enemies, on account of this dependence on Him in which we live. Because we have set the Lord before us, He will be always at our right hand.
If I have asked anything of God, and have received His answer, I then act with assurance, with the conviction that I am in the path of God's will; I am happy and contented. If I meet with some difficulty, that does not stop me, it is only an obstacle which faith has to surmount. But if I have not this certainty before I begin, I am in indecision, I know not what to do. This may be a trial of my faith, or it may be that I ought not to do what I am doing. I am in suspense, and I hesitate; even if I am doing the will of God, I am not sure about it, and I am not happy. I ought therefore to be assured that I am doing His will before I begin to act.
Observe, in passing, that God disposes all things according to the desire of Eliezer. This is what necessarily happens to all those who have their delight in the Lord. All the wheels of God's providence go in the way of His will which I am carrying out. The Holy Spirit, by the word, gives me the knowledge of His will. This is all that I want. God causes that all things should contribute to the accomplishment of his will. If, by spiritual intelligence, we are walking according to God, He assists us in the carrying out of His will, of His objects. There is need of this spiritual discernment, that it may abound in us in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” I know not whither that will lead me, but this is the step I must take to proceed in the path in which I have to walk.
Abraham's servant enters into the house. “And there was set meat before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told my errand.” Laban said, “Speak on.” What firmness of character in the servant! Look at a man who is not decided; he consults this one and that one, when it is a question of how he is to act; and even having some desire to do his own will, he will rather seek counsel of those who have not as much faith as himself. Paul took counsel neither of flesh nor blood. He saw that it was Christ who called him, and he went forward.
Eliezer, taken up with his errand, does not accept the offer of food which is made him. He does what he has to do. One secret of the Christian's life is, as soon as he knows God's will, to do his work, to occupy himself with it, to let no delay interfere with it, even to satisfy the wants of his body; this is the effect and the sign of the Holy Spirit's work. Eliezer wishes to deliver his errand. And what was it that was in question? The interests and the honor of Abraham his master. He had entrusted to him the interests of Isaac his son. And God has committed to us, down here, the glory of Jesus His Son; and this glory occupies us by the Holy Ghost which is given to us; that is, where there is a single eye—spiritual discernment, according to the position in which God has placed us. If we are there, there is no hesitation; being in our place, we act with liberty and joy. If I think about my convenience, my interests, about what concerns myself, or my family, (there are a thousand reasons which are contrary to a prompt obedience,) this is to consult flesh and blood. But if I inquire what is the interest of Christ, the thing will be instantly decided. If I think of anything else, I have not at heart this glory which is entrusted to me, nor confidence in Him who has placed me there.
Eliezer thinks always about Abraham, who had entrusted everything to him; his thoughts are upon this, as he sets forth before Rebekah the privileges and the good-tidings of his master's house.
If our hearts are filled with the Holy Spirit, it will be the same with us. It is very important for us to bear in mind, that God has confided to us the glory of Jesus. He had no need of us; besides, what can we do? It is He who works in us, and we have but to let Him act. It is His will to be glorified in us by the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is the same thing we see in those to whom the five and the ten talents were committed. Confidence in the master displays itself in the decision of the servant; as here Eliezer says, “I will not eat until I have told my errand.”
This pre-occupation with his master's glory makes him refuse to take any food until his errand was performed. This is to do God's will. He tells Laban about the matter, and how he had been guided, and that, without using any argument, without saying “It would be wise to act in such and such a way,” but with simplicity committing to God the issue of the affair. “Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, the thing proceedeth from the Lord.” If, instead of spending our time in reasoning, we were more simple and obedient, and presented things as the Holy Ghost tells them to us, the result would be better. But we often substitute our human wisdom for the commands of God. Often the things which are the most simply said produce the greatest effect. Peter said to the Jews, “You killed the prince of life.” That is what you did, and what I have to tell you on the part of God (Acts 3)
If we apprehend things and present them to men such as they are in the sight of God, the Holy Ghost accompanies this testimony, and the conscience is reached. Thus men think neither of Peter nor of John (except so far as they recognize them to be men of intelligence according to God, according as God had manifested them to themselves); it was God whom they had found, or rather who had found them. When God gives us this simplicity, which makes us occupy ourselves with things in the manner in which God sees them, we ought to speak to any one according to the state he is in before God. If I feel that he is lost, I tell him so simply, and the most simple addresses are the best and the most blessed.
“And he did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they were up in the morning, and he said, Send me away to my master. And her brother and mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go. And he said, Hinder me not; seeing the Lord hath prospered my way; send me away, that I may go to my master.”
We see Eliezer asking that he may hasten his departure; he must make haste in this business, so as to conduct Rebekah to his master's son; and having accomplished his mission, he says, “Delay me not.” He does not trouble himself about Laban's house, and he gives no consideration to his request; he does not stop on account of it. His love for his master makes him consider his orders before everything else.
It is in this generally that weakness is shown; we spare the flesh and neglect what we owe to God: in reality, we are sparing ourselves through fear of not being agreeable to others. I have seen men who are faithful in what they have to say to others, blessed of God, when they speak with simplicity and without hesitation.
“And they said, We will call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth, And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.” There is no hesitation here. So likewise, through the influence of the Holy Spirit, the bride says, “I will go.” she makes up her mind instantly, in the most decided manner, and leaves all. “I will go,” she says.
Now let us examine Rebekah's position: she had neither the house of Laban nor that of Isaac. It is the same with us. We have neither the earth, on which we are, nor heaven, to which we are going. Rebekah has left everything, and said “I will go.” Eliezer, type of the Holy Ghost, talks to Rebekah, during the journey, of that which there is in the house of her bridegroom's father. Precious conversation for the soul which needs to be encouraged by the view of these things, so as to be able to endure the fatigues and difficulties of the journey, and not to think of the house and the country from whence they came out! For Rebekah is going, like us, across the desert; and Eliezer, the faithful servant, who is leading her, takes care to comfort her, and to speak to her of the precious things which are in the father's house—to repeat to her the greatness and power of the father, and that “He hath given all that he hath to his son.”
For us this servant sets forth the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, who likewise communicates to us all that there is in the Father's house for those who are the bride of Christ. It is He who takes of the things of Christ and shows them unto us. It is He who leads us into all truth, while we are crossing the wilderness of this world; and who teaches us all things.
If Rebekah had hesitated, and had thought about the country which she had left, she would have been unhappy; she would have had neither Isaac's house nor her father Bethuel's. To have left all, and to have neither one thing or the other, her heart, isolated in the wilderness, would have felt itself in an untenable position, But she has left all; and, conversing with Eliezer, she occupies herself with what interests her heart, and raises it above the things winch she has now left forever. And she journeys in peace towards the abode of her bridegroom. The Christian who is not spiritual, but rather worldly, has a sorrowful lot; he cannot be happy if seeking after the world. The worldly man has at least something; he makes trial of these passing pleasures, and finds in them his joy, worthless as it may be; for in truth this joy does not satisfy. But the Christian finds in these things only uneasiness, because he bears about a conscience affected by the Holy Spirit. If he wishes to take his pleasure in the things of earth, and his heart hangs back from following the Lord, he is unhappy; he cannot chide a conscience which torments him; and as he has not listened to the Holy Spirit's invitation, and has not obeyed it, there is no joy for him. The spiritual things, which ought to have constituted his joy, produce reproaches in his heart when he turns towards them. But we have this grace of Him who calls us, and who leads us, if we are faithful, in an uniform path, for the sake of His name. If we sin, that does not put us under the law, but we have an advocate with the Father, who intercedes for us; and God, who is faithful, cannot fail when He is appealed to. “What wilt thou do with thy great name?” Besides, His glory is involved in lifting us up again; and this is grace. Yes, we have a Savior who intercedes with the Father for us, and who works to bring us back to the gracious God, who has begun this work in us, and will perfect it till the day of Christ, accomplishing all that concerns us. Eliezer conducts Rebekah to her bridegroom. So also the Holy Spirit conducts us to the end and goal. What Rebekah first perceives is Isaac, and Isaac takes his bride into his mother's tent. Possessing the bridegroom, she no longer takes thought for anything, she thinks no longer of the possessions, but of the bridegroom himself.
The important business was to bring the bride to the bridegroom: and, as to what regards us in the type which is here presented to us, God seeks us in this world of sin: He finds us; He desires that we should not delay to follow Him; when we have said, “I will go;” and He leads us into the presence of Jesus. The Holy Spirit accompanies us in the journey to help us, to comfort us, to tell us of the blessings and glory which await us, and to introduce us into the presence of Jesus, our heavenly bridegroom.
This may be modified, as regards the manner, by various circumstances; but such is the effect of the power of the Holy Ghost. The efficacious principle of our calling is that we should freely decide to allow ourselves to be led by Him, to walk with good-will; knowing that, being in this manner led, we shall arrive at the wished-for end: “So shall we ever be with the Lord.”
May God grant us all this mercy. Amen.

Notes on Scripture: 5. Our Joy in Heaven

Luke 9:28-36 (No. 5)
LET us look a little at this scripture, as showing what our joy in the glory will consist of. We have the warrant of 2 Peter 1:16 for saying that the scene represents to us the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And this is what we wait for. Our souls are not in a healthy state unless we are waiting for God's Son from heaven. The Church is not regulated in its hopes by the word and Spirit of God, unless it is looking for Him as Savior from heaven, (Phil. 3) And this passage, as disclosing to us specially what will be our portion when He comes, is important to us in this respect. There are many other things in the passage, such as the mutual relations of the earthly and the heavenly people in the kingdom. These it might be very instructive to consider, but this is not our present purpose, which is to consider what light is here afforded on the nature of that joy which we shall inherit at and from the coming of the Lord. Other scriptures, such as the promises to those who overcome in Rev. 2, 3 and the description of the heavenly city in Rev. 21, 22 give us instruction on the same subject; but let us now particularly look at the scene on the holy mount.
“And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and James and John, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.” It was when Jesus was in the acknowledgment of dependence “as he prayed,” that this change took place. This then, is the first thing we have here—a change such as will pass upon the living saints when Jesus comes. And behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias.” They were with Him. And this will be our joy; we shall be with Jesus. In 1 Thess. 4 after stating the order in which the resurrection of the sleeping, and the change of the living, saints will take place, and that we shall both be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, all that the apostle says as to what shall ensue is, “and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” But in this passage there is not only the being with Christ, but there is also familiar intercourse with Him. “There talked with him two men.” It is not that He talked with them, though that was no doubt true; but that might have been, and they be at a distance. But when we read that they talked with Him, we get the idea of the most free and familiar intercourse. Peter and the others knew what it was to have such intercourse with Jesus in humiliation; and what joy must it have been to have this proof that such intercourse with Him would be enjoyed in glory! And then it is said “they appeared in glory.” But this is secondary to what we have been considering. We are told that they were with Him, and then that they appeared in glory. They share in the same glory as that in which He was manifested. And so as to us: “When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory.” “The glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me.”
But there is another thing still. We are not only told that they were with Him, that they talked with Him, and appeared in glory with Him, but we are also privileged to know the subject of their conversation. They “spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.” It was the cross which was the theme of their conversation in the glory—the sufferings of Christ which He had to accomplish at Jerusalem. And surely this will be our joy throughout eternity, when in glory with Christ—to dwell upon this theme, His decease accomplished at Jerusalem. We then read that Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep. It shows us what the flesh is in the presence of the glory of God. Peter made a great mistake too, but I pass on.
“While he thus spake, there came a cloud and overshadowed them; and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son; hear him.” Peter tells us that this voice came from the excellent glory. “For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Now Peter and the others had entered into the cloud; and thus we get this wonderful fact that in the glory, from which the voice comes, saints are privileged to stand, and there, in that glory, share the delight of the Father in His beloved Son. Not only are we called to the fellowship of God's Son, Jesus Christ; we are called to have fellowship with the Father. We are admitted of God the Father to partake of His satisfaction in His beloved Son.
“And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone.” The vision was all gone—the cloud, the voice, the glory, Moses and Elias—but Jesus was left, and they were left to go on their way with Jesus, knowing Him now in the light of those scenes of glory which they had beheld. And this is the use to us of those vivid apprehensions of spiritual things which we may sometimes realize. It is not that we can be always enjoying them and nothing else. But when for the season they have passed away, like this vision on the holy mount, they leave us alone with Jesus, to pursue the path of our pilgrimage with Him in spirit now, and with Him in the light and power of that deepened acquaintance with Him, and fellowship of the Father's joy in Him, that we have got on the mount; and thus to wait for the moment of His return, when all this, and more than our hearts can think of, shall be fulfilled to us forever.

Notes on Scripture: 6. Grace Rejected and Heavenly Glory Opened

Such are two of the main thoughts presented in this striking an instructive chapter. God was rejected, let Him speak or act as He might, and never more than when He displayed His grace. “Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost.” It is true, these Christ-rejecting Jews boasted in the law; but if they had received the law by the disposition of angels, had they kept it? They had persecuted the prophets; they had slain those who foreshowed the coming of the Just One; they had now betrayed and murdered Himself.
It was no new feature in their history. Their fathers had done the same as themselves Man is ever resisting what God sends in blessing. Joseph and Moses had been rejected, the two prominent types of the Lord Jesus. Their fathers despised and hated Joseph: they had done the same by Christ. God exalted Joseph; and Stephen's testimony was to Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And if Joseph sent and called his kindred in grace, does not and will not Christ the same?
Moses appears. He abandons the house of Pharaoh in love to his brethren, but they resisted him, as Christ was resisted. “As your fathers did, so do ye.” All boasting then was ended. They were constant only in opposing the Holy Ghost. This is ever the case with the natural man. He cannot trust God. He ever resists the Spirit of God. There is no power in him to rely on the word of God; but the moment a thing is built up that can be seen, man can trust in that, no matter what it may be. God may be gone; but if it be the tabernacle or the temple, some settled thing for the eye, man will trust in it, though it is the very thing God is about to judge.
The testimony God gave was resisted; and man was clinging to that which God is going to pull down. All that is not founded upon the word will be shaken, and this, terrible though it be to flesh and blood, is a positive promise to us. “Whose voice then shook the earth; but now he hath promised, saying, yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear, For our God is a consuming fire.”
How far can you take this as a promise? If your hearts are resting here, you cannot. This may be easily known by the test—how far are your hearts attached to Christ in heaven, unseen save to the eye of faith?
How beautifully was this brought out in the case of Stephen! He was a bright reflection of his blessed Master, resisting unto blood in his strife against sin. What is more, he brings before us a vivid picture to be followed in our every-day life. For we are called always to testify for Christ, through the power of the Spirit, though it may not be unto death.
Besides, the rejection of the testimony by Stephen was a turning point of the ways of God with Israel, with man, though the principle had already come out at the death of Christ. God never could directly bless the world after that. He could forgive guilty Israel if they repented, and send Christ back again, in answer to the prayer on the cross. And this is just what Peter preaches in Acts 3 that if the people were converted, to the blotting out of their sins, Jesus was ready to return, and to bring in the times of restitution of all things—a truth which their present impenitence postpones, but does not destroy: for He is coming again.
But now Stephen's testimony is utterly refused, and the witness of Christ's heavenly glory is cast out of the city and stoned without mercy. It was the fitting sequel of such a testimony.
God had been dealing with man in all sorts of ways since Adam, but it only brought out the greater evil, for man continually resisted Him. Before the law they were lawless; they were transgressors when they got the law. God had given priests, kings, prophets in vain. Then He sent His Son. But they only rejected God in all ways, and at all times. When Christ came, sin added another crime to the terrible list: the deepest of all evils was there—rejection of the Son of man in His humiliation, and of the Spirit's testimony to His exaltation in heavenly glory. Jesus came not in the sternness of the law, but in love, yet He met only with enmity and hatred. If men, as such, could, have been connected with God, they must have been when Christ came. But man needs a new nature for such a link; and this Christ does give to all who believe, and has sent down the Holy Ghost to maintain it in power.
So Stephen, “being full of the Holy Ghost,” looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”
Such is the true place of the believer, rendered capable by the Spirit of fixing his eye on Jesus in glory, and this in presence of the world and its prince, who crucified the Lord of glory. It is not simply nor vaguely his eye opened to glory, but he sees the Son of man there, and the Spirit forms his heart and mind and walk according to that pattern. For the veil is rent and Jesus is seen in heaven.
We have heaven opened four times in the New Testament; and of these the first when the Lord was upon the earth. There was nothing in the actual condition of man which God could look on with pleasure till the man Christ Jesus was seen on earth. That the heavens should open on Him was no marvel. God had found perfect rest upon earth, and said, when the heavens opened, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” On the last occasion, viz., in Rev. 19, heaven is opened for the fourth time, and Christ is seen as coming to judge. In each of these heaven opened to Christ. But there was a third scene when heaven opened, and not to Christ. He had been rejected from earth, and was no longer a link between it and God. Where then is He? At God's right hand. When He was crucified, the whole world was condemned, and the prince of this world judged. All had joined together—governor, priest, people—against the Lord and His anointed. The world deliberately rejected the holiness of God, and had no heart for the love of God. Yet after this, and in spite of this, we get heaven opened once more before Christ comes to execute judgment. Heaven is opened upon a believer in Christ, upon a witness to His glory outside the world. “Behold, I see the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Christ Himself was the object on earth upon whom heaven opened. Christ is now the object in heaven presented to the believer on earth.
But Stephen's testimony only drew out the murderous opposition of the world. It had been guilty of rejecting Christ down here. It equally rejected Him, now that He is proclaimed as the exalted One in heaven.
But Stephen only thus saw and testified, when “full of the Holy Ghost.” To have the Holy Ghost is one thing; to be filled with the Holy Ghost is another. When He is the one source of my thought, I am filled with Him When He has possession of my heart, there is power to silence what is not of God, to keep my soul from evil, and to guide in every act of my life and walk; so that in both, I am kept apart from the world. (Compare Eph. 5:18; “be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”) Are we then looking steadfastly into heaven? Alas! what inconstant hearts we have; how fickle and changing! The Holy Ghost ever leads the eye to, and would keep it fixed on Jesus. He is the object of the Spirit from all eternity; whether as the Son in the bosom of the Father; or the rejected Messiah on earth; or the Son of man exalted at the right hand of God. To reveal and glorify Him is the habitual aim of the Spirit.
When we have not much power for prayer, or even to follow others, and our hearts get full of distracted thoughts—when there is little energy in our souls for praise and worship; we have but a feeble measure of the power of the Spirit; we are not filled with the Holy Ghost.
The heavens, then, can be opened upon a believer here below, when Christ, the Son of man, is up there. What a thought, what a truth for our heart! Indeed, more than this; for in Eph. 2 we learn the blessed fact, that God has quickened us together with Christ; has raised us up together and seated us together in Christ in heavenly places. He has taken His place at the right hand of God: and we are made to sit there in Him, because united to Him who is there. “He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit.”
It is no longer, then, the heavens opening and Jesus acknowledged in humiliation to be the beloved Son of God. It is not the heavens open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of man, the object of service to those who were the most dignified and holy creatures of God. It is not yet heaven opened and a rider upon the white horse, issuing thence in triumphant judgment. It is a precious and intervening scene, where the disciple on earth sees the heavens opened, and, filled with the Spirit, sees the glory of God and Jesus standing at His right hand. It is the manifest and characteristic picture of the true position of the Christian, rejected like Jesus, because of Jesus, with Jesus, but withal his eyes opened by the Holy Ghost to higher hopes and glory, than any dependent on the Lord's return to and judgment of the earth, and restoration of His ancient people. Heavenly glory is the portion with which his soul is in present fellowship and with Jesus therein.
Indeed Stephen's discourse to the Jews had strikingly paved the way to this; for while he had sketched the history of the people from the very first, he had singled out Abraham, called away from his country and kindred, by the appearing of the God of glory. Abraham, a stranger in the land of promise, and not a foot of it as yet his own. He had traced the sins, sorrows, and bondage of “our fathers,” till God delivered the people out of Egypt, as He had previously called Abraham from Mesopotamia. Two individuals stood out most significantly; but they were scarcely more characterized by the honor of God, than they had been previously by the rejection of Israel—Joseph given up to the Gentiles, afterward the most exalted in the personal administration of the kingdom, and the instrument of the goodness and wisdom of God, in behalf of the very brethren who had persecuted and sold him—Moses, the refused ruler and judge, whom God sent, long after, to be a ruler and a deliverer. Just such had been the features of their recent sin, and such should be the path of God in His grace. But they had no ear for Him as yet. From the very first, their idolatrous hearts had departed from Him, however slow He had been in executing judgment. And however their pride might rest complacently in this holy place, God Himself in truth was, and had been, as great a stranger, so to speak, in Canaan, as had been Abraham His friend. It was true that “Solomon built him an house.” But this had furnished the occasion for the prophet to tell them in due time, that the Most High, whose hand had made all things, would not rest in a temple made with hands; and this, in connection with restored idolatry in the temple, and the consummated wickedness and judgment of Israel in the latter day, before the Lord shall create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
And now, the history of Christ had been the fresh and full verification of these varied principles of God, and all was caused to flash on their unrenewed and rebellious consciences, by the Holy Ghost, through Stephen. But heaven opened to him, as it can on us, in virtue of our being members of Christ; as we see in John 14 “ye in me and I in you.” We see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. We are made the righteousness of God in Him. He has vindicated the holiness of God, whose righteousness is now for me and justifies me. And the Holy Ghost gives me competency to look up into heaven, and see my forerunner there—my righteousness there. I am there, for Christ and the believer are united. I am one with Him It is Paul who shows us this truth fully. It was made known to him from his very conversion, “I am Jesus whom thou persecuted.” The other apostles never developed it as he did. Paul was the fitted vessel for disclosing this great truth, not yet unfolded—the secret hid in God—and thus for completing the word, as we read in Col. 1. There had been, as it were, a blank left for it.
Stephen looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the Son of man standing at God's right hand—a man in heaven seen by one on earth! What an immense step. Truly blessed to have Christ in heaven! to see Him there, and be livingly associated with Him in that glory.
But the Son of man was seen standing there. Why standing? He could not sit until the last act of rejection was completed. What a tale? What sin man has wrought and woe he has entailed on himself! But Christ is set down waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. So must we wait. The righteousness we are made—we are not waiting for that, but for the hope of righteousness by faith. We are set down in Christ, in spirit and purpose, at God's right hand, until the heaven open for the last time, and the Son of man comes to judge all that can be shaken. Does this alarm me? No. I am safe to the end. I have a city which hath foundations. I am linked in with what God has settled, and cannot be moved.
What an effect this sight in heaven should have upon our souls. In Stephen it produced a thorough practical likeness to Christ. If you look at Christ, He witnessed a good confession before Pontius Pilate, Caiaphas, the people, &c. What is Stephen? A faithful follower of the One he sees in heaven. He bears witness to His Master, forgetful of himself or his danger, without a thought of consequences. The Holy Ghost guides and fills him with holy joy that ran over. His heart was filled with Christ to the exclusion of care for his life, or what should follow. Christ was the only object before him. He was like Christ in confession, like Him in suffering too, “filling up that which was behind.” What a picture of practical conformity to Christ in grace—perfect confidence in looking up to the Lord, into whose hands he committed his spirit strong intercession, as he thought of those who stoned him to death! “And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”
The ungrieved spirit displayed in Stephen the reflection of the character and ways and words of Christ; but this brought on trial, and it ever will be so. The cross we shall have; and what of that? It is a good thing for us; it draws us away from the world; it breaks the will; it delivers from self, by cutting, it may be, the next link to the heart. The cross has a delicious power, though not a pleasant thing: it would be no cross if it were. But it lifts up the believer, and makes him see what a portion he has in Christ; who waits to take those He has redeemed to Himself, “that where He is, there they may be also.”

Notes on Scripture: 7. Galatians 6

Nothing is so difficult as to take a man out of himself; it is impossible, except by giving him a new nature. Man glories in anything that will bring honor to himself—anything that distinguishes him from his neighbor. It does not signify what it is, (it may be even that he is the tallest man,) anything his pride may take up as that which gives him advantage over others.
Some may glory in their talents. There are differences in men's minds: vanity is seen more in some, wishing for the good opinion of others; pride more in others, having a good opinion of themselves. Wealth, knowledge, anything that distinguishes a man, he will glory in, and make a little world around himself by it.
There is another thing, too, that men glory in, besides talent, birth, wealth, &c., and that is their religion. Take a Jew, and you will find he glories in not being a Turk, the Christian, so called, glories in that he is not a heathen and a publican. Man will thus take the very thing that God has given to take him out of himself to accredit himself with. Those who are so deluded as to be throwing themselves down to Juggernaut may have less to glory in, or to fancy they can glory in; but the measure of truth, connected with the religion men hold, is the very occasion of their glorying. Thus the Turk who owns the true God, will glory in his religion over those who do not; the Jew, in his religion—he has the truth, and “salvation came of the Jews;” the Gentile Christian too has truth, but then he prides himself upon it, and that brings in the mischief. The subtlety of the enemy is seen in proportion as it is truth in which he makes a man glory; and it is not so difficult to detect, either, for if you are proud of being a Christian, the whole thing is told at once. (It is another thing of course, for the true, genuine child of God walking in the power of the cross, &c., who glories in that he knows God.)
With Jonah there was just this pride at work: he was proud of being a Jew, and would not go to Nineveh, as God told him, because he was afraid of losing his reputation. He had rather have seen all Nineveh destroyed, than have his own credit as a prophet lost. Jonah was a true prophet, but glorying in himself, turning his religion into a ground of self-glorying.
Whatever you are decking yourself out with, it may even be with a knowledge of scripture, it is glorying in the flesh. Ever so little a thing is enough to make us pleased with ourselves; what we should not notice in another is quite enough to raise our own importance.
Glorying in religion is a deeper thing. Whatever comes from man must be worthless. A man cannot glory in being a sinner. Conscience can never glory, and there is no true religion without the conscience—not speaking now of God's righteousness. What is it then wherein man glories in religion! It always must have a legal character, because there must be something for him to do—hard penance, or anything, no matter at what cost, if it only glorifies self. “As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, constrain you to be circumcised they desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.” Man could bind heavy burdens. Why should her? Because self would have to do something. When man glories in self there may be the truth in a measure, but it is of a legal character always, because there must be something man can do for God. Glorying in the flesh is not glorying in sin, but, as in Phil. 3 religious glorying, glorying in something besides Christ.
Verse 14. In the cross man has nothing to say to it. It is not my cross, but “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and the only part I had in Christ's cross was sin. My sin had to do with it, for it brought Him there. This puts man down altogether. That which saves man, and what God delights in, man could not put a finger to in bearing. “The folly of God is wiser than men.” The one single thing I have in the cross is my sin. There is this further